Nadal defeated a tired Juan Martin del Potro in the early hours of Saturday morning to set up a showdown with South African Anderson.
"Now I'm allowing myself to acknowledge all the good shots I hit", he said. But he was constantly under pressure on his serve, while Anderson used his power to pound 22 aces.
If you were to look at pre-tournament form as a guide, then Carreno Busta doesn't even rate a mention with early exits in Montreal and Cincinnati.
When the US Open began, Nadal was practising well but playing so-so.
Anderson was soon 5-4 ahead, hitting his 100th ace of the tournament in the process before leveling the tie in the 12th game courtesy of a Carreno Busta double fault and a fierce backhand victor.
"Sometimes you have opportunities, and sometimes you take them and you don't, but it's not like you get opportunity after opportunity after opportunity in these sorts of matches", Williams said. He reached the final in Washington and made the quarterfinals in Montreal, losing to Alexander Zverev at both tournaments. But Anderson has far more career match wins with 267 compared to Carreno Busta's 110.
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Anderson climbed into the box to celebrate with his family and team after clinching match point.
It was now the South African making all the running, earning six break points in the third set. "I was told I probably needed surgery on my hip", Anderson said. He committed 14 unforced errors to just one for Carreno Busta in the set. The Americans haven't had any men's Grand Slam champion since Roddick won the tournament in 2003.
"When Juan Martin is playing well, it's hard to stop him".
Instead of risking injury to play Davis Cup tennis for little or no incentive, Anderson pursued his dream.
"For the last decade we've become so accustomed to seeing the same four guys (Roger Federer‚ Rafa Nadal‚ Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray) in a grand slam semi‚ so this is new‚ not only for me‚ but the whole tennis world".
However, his last loss at this stage came on the same NY hard courts in 2009 at the hands of Del Potro, who went on to shock five-time champion Federer in the final.
This time, he takes on those two greats of the game in reverse order: del Potro beat Federer in the quarterfinals Wednesday.