Spanish number one and 12th seed Pablo Carreno Busta takes on the odds-defying 29th seed Diego Schwartzman in a hard to call contest. While Carreno Busta is the more stable of the two, Schwartzman brings to the table a dynamic and risky attitude on court with some of his low-percentage shots. Interestingly, both players are also very good friends off the court but that will be forgotten when the two battle for a place in the last four of the US Open.
The US Open quarter-finals will be the first meeting between these two players on the tour but both probably know each other’s game well due to their friendship. Carreno Busta has made giant strides over the last one and a half years and this will be his second straight Grand Slam quarter-final appearance after the French Open, having missed Wimbledon through injury. However, Carreno Busta’s form ahead of the US Open was certainly not awe-inspiring as he lost early in Montreal, Cincinnati and Winston-Salem. Therefore, reaching the quarter-finals for the first time in Flushing Meadows has been something of a surprise result.
Carreno Busta has performed well on hard courts before, having won his first two ATP titles on the surface in Winston-Salem and Moscow in 2016. The Spaniard also made the semi-finals in Indian Wells earlier this year. Schwartzman, who generally prefers the clay, is in good form on the hard courts so far this summer and reached the quarter-finals in Montreal. However, Schwartzman has only one career title and 59 match wins compared with Carreno Busta’s three titles and 109 match wins.
Path to the quarter-finals
Carreno Busta has beaten all of his opponents in straight sets at Flushing Meadows so far. The Spaniard beat Evan King, Cameron Norrie, Nicolas Mahut and Denis Shapovalov on his way to the quarter-finals. However, there were moments of tension for him in his last match against the 18-year-old sensation. The Canadian served for the first set and had an early break in the third before Carreno Busta turned things around and won the match in three tie breaks, 7-6 7-6 7-6.
Schwartzman began his US Open campaign with two impressive straight sets victories over compatriot Carlos Berlocq and Serbia’s Janko Tipsarevic. He then came up with one of the greatest wins of his career against former champion Marin Cilic in four sets. The Argentine was then victorious against Lucas Pouille in four sets, who last year beat Rafael Nadal in the round of 16. The match against Pouille was certainly not an easy one for Schwartzman as he felt pain in his upper leg during the third set having won the first two sets 7-6 7-5. Pouille took the third set 6-2 and the match at one stage looked like it was heading to a decider when he went up a break in the fourth. But Schwartzman hit back fantastically, winning five games in a row to take the set 6-2 and reach the quarter-finals.
How do they match up?
Both players have good groundstrokes and their court coverage is excellent. There should be plenty of long rallies in this match. However, Schwartzman is the one who will look to finish many of these rallies early by coming into the net and going for winners. At 6’2 inches tall, Carreno Busta definitely has a height advantage in this match against the 5’7 Schwartzman and it may be hard for the Argentine to break serve.
While Carreno Busta will definitely be the one who will end up hitting fewer unforced errors, measuring most of his shots well. Schwartzman will likely end up with more winners, going for the lines at every opportunity and making an impact.
The style of these two players suggests this match will go the distance but Carreno Busta’s level-headedness should win him this match. He’s also spent less time on court and having played a Grand Slam quarter-final before should leave him less likely to be overawed by the occasion. The Spaniard to clinch it in the fifth.
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