Kevin Anderson hailed hard work paying off after reaching his maiden grand slam semi-final with a four-set victory over Sam Querrey in a US Open all-nighter.
South African Anderson saw off the home hope Querrey 7-6 (7-5) 6-7 (9-11) 6-3 7-6 (9-7) in a match that ran to 1:51 AM local time at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Querrey had beaten Anderson en route to his own first major final-four outing at Wimbledon this year, but Anderson got the better of him this time in a battle of big servers.
Anderson (28) had little time to digest his achievement post-match, but is determined that he does not plateau, with a fixture against fellow first-time semi-finalist Pablo Carreno-Busta to come.
"It feels really good," Anderson said. "You know, it just happened really quick, I guess. It was an incredible match.
"Matches like that, you sort of focus on getting through right there and then and look at the bigger picture afterwards.
"I have put in a lot of work. It definitely feels good that I have reached some milestone that I haven't before. At the same time, I feel like I came into this taking each match at a time.
"I think I will let myself enjoy it for the next day. I will have a couple days off now and then refocus for my next match.
"It's a fantastic feeling, but at the same time I feel like I want to keep [going]. I'm still in this tournament. I feel like I'm going to have another opportunity to go one step further."
Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal can set up a blockbuster semi-final in the top half of the draw with wins on Wednesday, but the withdrawals of Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka have allowed new names to emerge at Flushing Meadows, including Anderson.
He added: "We are so accustomed to it, a decade, the same guys being there. It's been a wide-open draw, but still tough matches.
"It gave some of the guys an opportunity to go deep into the tournament."
Querrey left with some satisfaction, having gone further in his home slam than ever before, and brushed off the impact of playing into the small hours of Wednesday.
He said: "It's fun. I mean, it's so late, so I know it's tough for people to stay, but the people that stayed, they were in it, they were loud, they were fun to play in front of.
"I think all tennis players are used to it from here and there, and when you're doing a physical sport, you don't get tired. Two AM feels the same as nine PM. You can't really tell the difference when you're out there.
"At the beginning of the week, if you said I would have made quarters, I probably would have signed up for that. I know that bottom half of the draw was open, but you can't say 63 guys blew an opportunity. Only one guy can go through, and Kevin's pretty tough."