Spain’s 12th-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta, who hasn’t dropped a set so far, takes on 28th-seeded South African Kevin Anderson. It is a first-ever Grand Slam semi-final for both men in the second match on Arthur Ashe. Will the big-server and former top 1o player from South African have too much to handle for Carreno Busta? Or will the Spaniard continue his rich vein of form at Flushing Meadows and keep his dream alive?
The two players met recently in the round of 32 on the hard courts of Montreal. Anderson won the match in straight sets, 6-3 7-6 but dropped his serve twice on that occasion. That was their second meeting after a clay court clash in Casablanca in 2013 that was also won by Anderson in straight sets.
Carreno Busta had a fairly forgettable hard court season before the US Open began. He lost in the second round in Montreal to Anderson and only made it one round further in Cincinnati. He then lost first round in Winston Salem. Anderson, however, is doubtless proud of the hard court form he has shown this year. He reached the final in Washington and made the quarter-finals in Montreal, losing to Alexander Zverev at both tournaments.
Carreno Busta has a better record in 2017 overall, winning 35 and losing 16 matches this year including picking up the title in Estoril. Anderson hasn’t won an ATP title since 2015 and has won 28 and lost 15 matches this year. But he has the same number of career titles as Carreno Busta with both men having won three. Anderson has far more career match wins with 267 compared to Carreno Busta’s 110.
Path to the semi-finals
Carreno Busta’s form in the 2017 US Open has been excellent so far. In fact, he is the only one of the four men’s semi-finalists to not have dropped a set so far. The Spaniard was dominant in his last match against Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman. He lost just ten games, despite many predicting that it would be a tight contest. Prior to that Carreno Busta beat four qualifiers in Evan King, Cameron Norrie, Nicolas Mahut and Denis Shapovalov. Interestingly, it is the first time in Grand Slam history that someone has faced four qualifiers in a row.
Anderson has also been in good form so far in New York. The South African won his opening three rounds in straight sets against JC Aragone, Ernests Gulbis and Borna Coric respectively. In the fourth round, Anderson defeated the spirited Italian Paolo Lorenzi in four sets. The South African’s toughest test came in the quarter-finals against American hope Sam Querrey. It was a match that lasted three hours and 32 minutes under the lights on Ashe. Eventually, Anderson managed to serve his way to a four set victory but for much of the match, the result hung in the balance. Had Anderson not saved a set point in the fourth, the match could well have escaped him in a decider. Instead, the South African hung tough and emerged a 7-6 6-7 6-3 7-6 winner to make his maiden Slam semi-final.
How do they match up?
Anderson, 6’8 tall, is one of the best servers on Tour. Unsurprisingly, it requires a herculean effort from any player to break his serve. The South African hit 67 winners in his quarter-final against Querrey, demonstrating his power and baseline quality. Carreno Busta has been serving very well so far this tournament. He has varied his placement enough to keep his opponents guessing and make up for his lack of outright power. His return game has been excellent so far although it will need to be at its best against Anderson. The Spaniard likes to measure his shots, and his depth is excellent. He hit 87 winners during his last three matches but also made 72 unforced errors. He will not be able to afford so many against Anderson.
The key to this match, however, will be the battle between Anderson’s serve and Carreno Busta’s return. If Anderson is not able to win enough free points with his first serve, then he will not come away victorious. He does not have the game to trade consistently with the Spaniard from the baseline and win the match.
Anderson’s superior experience, head-to-head advantage, imposing serve and big game are factors that suggest he will win this match. That said, fatigue could be a factor for Anderson after his last match against Querrey. It will take even more to beat the in-form Carreno Busta. Anderson’s been playing some huge tennis, and he will win it in a fifth set tie break.
Who do you think will reach the final? Let us know in the comments below!
Want to share your opinion? Why not Write For Us?