Miami (AFP) – Kevin Anderson’s quarter-final jinx struck again as Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta sent the sixth-seeded South African out of the Miami Open with a 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (8/6) triumph.
The defeat to the 16th seed, who fell to Anderson at Indian Wells this month, means the South African is now 0-10 in ATP Masters last eight matches.
It was a disappointing end to the tournament for Anderson, who won the New York Open and reached the final in Acapulco before arriving in South Florida eyeing another impressive run.
Anderson saved two match points in the second set and rallied superbly to force a decider where he had a match point of his own in the tie-break.
But the 31-year-old failed to take his chance of redemption, allowing the Spaniard to stay alive and eventually capitalize to reach his second ATP Masters semi-final following a run to the last four in Indian Wells in 2017.
“It was difficult to lose two match points, but I just needed to keep going,” Carreno Busta said. “I am so happy. The support of the crowd was fantastic.”
Carreno Busta certainly played the more consistent tennis and in the process secured his first win over Anderson at his fifth attempt and is now 2-21 against top 10 opponents.
While Anderson licks his wounds, 19th ranked Carreno Busta can look forward to a semi-final clash with either German Alexander Zverev or Croatia’s Borna Coric.
Anderson’s serve , normally so strong, faltered in the Miami sunshine. The stats towards the end of the second set showed him making just 56% of his first serves while only 33% of points were won on his second.
The South African fought to stay alive and superbly saved two match points before breaking his opponent for the first time in the match and sending the match into a third set.
Anderson’s serve improved in the decider — he ended up rocketing down 14 aces in total — but neither player was giving an inch in a very close third set.
Anderson pulled ahead 5-3 in the tiebreaker, but Carreno Busta refused to go away.
When the Spaniard hit long to give the South African his first match point, the game looked to be up.
Anderson wasted the opportunity, however, and when it came to Carreno Busta’s next chance to move into the semis his opponent hit hopelessly long to seal the win.