2017 U.S. OPEN TENNIS MEN’S SEMIS REPORT FROM 10SBALLS ACE ON SITE RICKY DIMON

Written by: on 7th September 2017
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USA TENNIS US OPEN 2017
2017 U.S. OPEN TENNIS MEN'S SEMIS REPORT FROM 10SBALLS ACE ON SITE RICKY DIMON

epa06185828 Pablo Carreno Busta of Spain hits a return to Diego Schwartzman of Argentina during their US Open Tennis Championships quarterfinals round match at the USTA National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, New York, USA, 05 September 2017. The US Open runs through September 10. EPA-EFE/JUSTIN LANE  |

Pablo Carreno Busta vs. Kevin Anderson in the U.S. Open semis: It’s not as hard to believe as you think

 

By Ricky Dimon

 

One of Friday’s U.S. Open men’s semifinals will be… wait for it… Pablo Carreno Busta vs. Kevin Anderson.

 

Oh it’s quite surprising all right. Neither man is in the top 10–or even the top 15 (Carreno Busta is 19th in the rankings; Anderson is No. 32). Neither one had ever previously reached the semifinals of a major, making this the first time since the 2005 French Open (Nikolay Davydenko vs. Mariano Puerta) that two Grand Slam semifinal debutants will go head-to-head with a spot in a place in the final on the line. Anderson is lowest-ranked major semifinalist since 2009 (No. 34 Tommy Haas at Wimbledon) and lowest-ranked at the U.S. Open since 2006 (No. 54 Mikhail Youzhny).

 

Of course this matchup would never have happened at this stage of the U.S. Open if not for a myriad of injuries to higher-ranked players. Carreno Busta and Anderson, themselves, would probably be willing to admit that. Novak Djokovic is sidelined. Andy Murray is sidelined. So, too, is Stan Wawrinka. Kei Nishikori and Milos Raonic also missed this U.S. Open.

 

But given the current state of the ATP, is it really that hard to believe Carreno Busta and Anderson were the ones who capitalized on an opportunity and played their ways through the bottom half of the draw? It shouldn’t be.

 

Carreno Busta has been awesome all year long. In fact, if the World Tour Finals field was set today, he would be part of it. Not counting Wawrinka, who is out for the year, Carreno Busta will be seventh in the race to London next unless he loses to Anderson and then either Anderson or Del Potro wins the title. The Spaniard had already been to one major quarterfinal this season (French Open) and finished runner-up at the 500-point tournament in Rio de Janeiro. Although he may be at his best on clay, Carreno Busta also made a run to the Indian Wells semis on hard courts.

 

“He’s had an amazing year,” Anderson praised. “Really consistent results now–at the French getting through to the quarters, and now through to the semis here. He’s obviously very confident.”

 

Anderson is clearly the same. And he isn’t your average No. 32 player in the world. The former University of Illinois standout broke into the top 10 during the fall of 2015 only to be struck down by various arm issues the following year. This is a guy who, when healthy, advanced to the 2015 U.S. Open quarters (with victories over Dominic Thiem and Murray in the process) a few months after leading eventual champion Djokovic two sets to love at Wimbledon. Prior to this U.S. Open showing, Anderson reached the fourth round at both the French Open and Wimbledon, finished runner-up in Washington, D.C. (lost to current world No. 6 Alexander Zverev), and made it to the Montreal quarterfinals (lost to Zverev again).

 

Consider the draw, too. Among those favored to advance out of the bottom half ahead of Carreno Busta and Anderson were Zverev, Marin Cilic, Sam Querrey, Jack Sock, John Isner, and perhaps Gilles Muller and Karen Khachanov. Zverev is a disappointing 12-10 lifetime at majors and has still never advanced past a fourth round. Cilic did not play one match in between Wimbledon and the U.S. Open. Sock has been a disaster since March. Querrey is Querrey. Isner has one slam quarterfinal performance in his entire career. Muller is past his prime (34 years old) and Khachanov hasn’t hit his (21 years old).

 

But there really aren’t any strikes against Carreno Busta and Anderson. And thus they aren’t out–at least not yet.

 

“Because I believe in myself,” Carreno Busta said when asked what the biggest reason is for his success. “I believe more than the last years.”

 

Yes, the bracket was lopsided. No, they did not have to compete with likes of Roger Federer, Juan Martin Del Potro, Thiem, Grigor Dimitrov, and Nick Kyrgios. But believe this: the two men in the bottom half with the most impressive combination of current form and experience made it out.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.

 

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