Kevin Anderson allowed his mind to wander back to his nearly moment at Wimbledon before he completed his shock win over Andy Murray.
The South African almost delivered a huge upset at the All England Club, going two-sets-to-love up against Novak Djokovic before losing the fourth-round clash in five sets.
That loss marked Anderson’s 15th straight against top-10 players at grand slams.
Anderson finally ended that run with a 7-6 (7-5) 6-3 6-7 (2-7) 7-6 (7-0) win over Murray on Monday and said he took some inspiration from his loss to Djokovic.
“Funny you mention that. It was definitely on my mind quite a bit there because I felt we were playing some long points,” he told a news conference.
“It was a long match. I mean, over four hours for four sets. I was fatiguing a little bit in the third. But I just stuck with it.
“I think it was important for me going into the match, thinking back to Wimbledon, the way I played there. That’s how I wanted to play again today.
“Once I was up two-sets-to-love, I think it was important not to think about it. I was just really happy with the way I stuck the course, especially in the fourth set.
“I think he was really finding his way back in the match. He was getting the crowd going. I just really stuck to my guns and I think I played a great fourth set.”
Anderson had lost five of his previous six matches against Murray heading into the clash at Flushing Meadows.
But his power seemed to overwhelm Murray and Anderson, into a quarter-final of a grand slam for the first time, said his improvement in the big moments made a difference.
“I played him a few times. Just in this match-up, I think there’s more than just a couple tactical [things] for the match. It goes way back in my preparations,” Anderson said.
“I’ve got a great team behind me, all the work that they do and the support, you know, from obviously my coach to my fitness trainers, my physical trainers.
“I’ve been working with a sports psychologist, as well. Obviously I think that’s been a big benefit for me, just being more comfortable in these big positions.
“I feel like the last while I’ve put myself in that position, obviously being in the fourth round a few times but falling a little bit short.
“Today it feels good to take a little step and actually beat one of the best guys in the world in the fourth round of a slam, as well.”