Kevin Anderson of South Africa celebrates earning a place in his first ever major final after his four-set victory over Pablo Carreno Busta in the US Open semifinals Friday evening.

With an immaculate display of serving and strong hitting, Kevin Anderson powered his way into the final of the US Open with a comprehensive 4-set victory over Pablo Carreno Busta Friday afternoon.

Anderson fired 58 winners to only 21 for his Spanish opponent and out-aced the 12-seed 22 to 1 en route to his 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4 triumph.

“This is why I worked so hard. It was an unbelievably tough match for me. It was pretty nervous starting out for me, I’m sure for Pablo it was the same,” Anderson said. “I really had to dig deep there. I’m just over the moon right now.”

Carreno Busta had not dropped a set throughout the fortnight, but of his five opponents, none were seeded and four were qualifiers.

Despite winning the first set, Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta appeared thoroughly outclassed in his four-set defeat to Kevin Anderson in the semifinals of the US Open Friday.

Still, the Spaniard looked the more solid of the players to begin as he held serve with relative ease despite rarely reaching even close to 120 miles-per-hour on his serve. The South African 28-seed experienced similar success on his serve early on as neither player earned a break opportunity or even reached deuce on a return game in the first six games.

But in the seventh, Anderson, playing in the first major semifinal of his 14-year career, didn’t so much as blink as completely clench his eyes shut for a few minutes. The world number 32 committed a double fault and three unforced errors to hand Carreno Busta the lead. The Spaniard went on to close out the set without facing a single break point.

Anderson quickly upped his game as the second set got under way, reducing his unforced error count and putting exponentially more pressure on Carreno Busta’s service games. The 6’8” South African earned two break points in the fourth game and converted on the second after forcing his opponent into error.

Undaunted, Carreno Busta fired a trio of clean winners in the next game and immediately broke back for 2-3. The players went on exchanging holds until the Spaniard stepped to the line at 5-6. Again, Anderson upped his return game, as he did in the big moments on Tuesday night against American Sam Querrey as well. The South African earned a set point after a double fault from Carreno Busta and converted with a backhand winner.

That seemed to be the last true fight that Carreno Busta had in him as he never threatened the Anderson service games again and was seemingly made to work hard on almost all of his own. The Spaniard committed another costly double fault to hand his opponent a 3-1 lead early in the third set. This time, Anderson did not allow the Spaniard back in, never facing a break point and clinching his lead with his ninth ace of the set.

The direction of the fourth set felt inevitable, with Anderson once again pressuring Carreno Busta’s service games early and often, eventually breaking through in the fifth game by firing three winners and then converting on an unforced error from the Spaniard.

The South African faced his first slight challenge of the set on serve when attempting to close the match out at 5-4. Carreno Busta earned leads in the game at both Love-15 and 15-30, after a pair of errors from across the net, but Anderson recovered with a pair of winners to earn match point. On that point, Carreno Busta slapped a forehand into the net and Anderson dropped the racquet, threw off his cap and turned to his box with a look of elation.

“It’s been a long road and these grand slams are tough. We’ve been privileged to play with some of the best players to have ever played the game,” Anderson said. “It’s nice that some of them gave some of us a shot to try to make a bit of a run this tournament.”

After clinching his place in the final, the South African, who has only ever even reached one quarterfinal at a major before this tournament, climbed into his player’s box to celebrate with his team and wife Kelsey.

In a celebration normally reserved for after winning the final rather than reaching it, Kevin Anderson celebrated a spot in his first ever major final by climbing into his player’s box to celebrate with his team and wife Kelsey.

“I don’t know if the team hug was appropriate before the final but it felt right,” Anderson said.

Anderson reached a career-high ranking of world number 10 in 2015, but struggled with injuries last year and tallied his first losing record, 17-21, of a season since 2010. A hip injury capped off the season and forced him to miss the Australian Open this year. After having seen his ranking dip as low as 80, he reflected on his climb back to the upper echelons of the game.

“It was very difficult at the end of last year,” Anderson said. “Here I am just 9 months later after thinking I might have to go through a year’s worth of recovery, so this means the world to me.”

Anderson will next face the winner of the second semifinal between Juan Martin del Potro and Rafael Nadal. He is a combined 0-10 head-to-head against both possible opponents having lost four times to Nadal and six to del Potro.