South African tennis star, Kevin Anderson, says he had to dig deep to get past young Canadian, Denis Shapovalov at the US Open in New York.
Fifth seeded Anderson beat Shapovalov in five sets to advance to the fourth round of the year’s final grand slam event.
Elsewhere, top seed and defending champion, Rafael Nadal of Spain also had to fight hard to dispose of Russian 22nd seed, Karén Khachanov.
It was the first clash ever between Anderson and Shapovalov. The big-serving South African was the favourite.
The two played under the closed roof for the first time in Louis Armstrong Stadium history.
It was a see-saw match throughout with Shapovalov winning the first and fourth sets.
Anderson won the second and third to set up a nail-biting decider.
The South African finally won it 6-4. He fired 11 aces and hit 31 winners in just under four hours, to overcome the 19-year old Canadian, and set up a last 16-clash against Austrian 9th seed, Dominic Thiem.
Anderson says: “I’ve played him few times, but a lot of those matches have been really close. He had a few match points, some of the matches I’ve won. So even though I lead the head to head, it’s going to be a really tough match.”
Nadal, meanwhile, also had to fight back after Khachanov bagged the first set 7-5.
The Spaniard then won the next three 7-5, 7-6, 7-6 to clinch the thriller, the longest match of 2018 tournament so far at four hours and 23 minutes.
The 17-time grand slam champion will face Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili in the last 16.
Third seed, Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina, also advanced. Del Potro faced a stern test in another Spaniard, Fernando Verdasco.
But the Argentine recorded a straight-sets victory in three hours and will next face 20th seed, Borna Coric of Croatia.
Meanwhile in the women’s draw, Serena Williams beat older sister, Venus, in their third round match.
The six-time champion needed just 80 minutes to record a 6-1, 6-2 win.
Serena said: “It’s not easy. She’s my best friend; she means the world to me. And she’s so supportive of my career and I am extremely supportive of her career. Every time she loses, it feels like I do. So it’s not very easy, but it’s a tournament and we all know there’s more to life than just playing each other and playing tennis.”
Earlier, defending champion, Sloane Stephens also managed a straight-sets win over Victoria Azarenka of Belarus.
The American will face 15th seed, Elise Mertens of Belgium in the last 16.