The Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta returns to the semi-final after 3 years at the Flushing Meadows as he ended the run of the last remaining North American hope following his five set win over Denis Shapovalov of Canada on Tuesday. He is joined by the title favourite Dominic Thiem of Austria, last year’s finalist Daniil Medvedev of Russia and the German Alexander Zverev in the semi-finals to be played on Friday.
The 20th seeded Carreno Busta traded early breaks in the opening set against Shapovalov, but the 12th seeded Canadian went on to break again in the eighth game before holding serve to clinch the first set 6-3. There were early breaks of serve in the second set in which Shapovalov had six double faults, Carreno Busta claimed the ensuing tie-break with an ace on his third set point.
Busta would take the lead in the third set to go 4-2 up, but Shapovalov fought back and then would save another break point at 5-5 with an ace. Busta played the big points well when it mattered in the third set tie-break as he earned a mini-break at 4-4 with a backhand winner. He followed it up with a unreturned serve and a forehand winner to take a 2-1 lead in sets.
The 29 year old Spaniard lost 20 of the 24 points in the fourth set after Shapovalov broke in the opening game of the fourth set in which he would bagel the Spaniard 6-0. A backhand error at 3-2 gave Busta two break points and Shapovalov double faulted to go down a break. Busta won the four hour nine minute match on Shapovalov 76th unforced error hitting a forehand into the net. The winning scoreline was 3-6,7-6(5),7-6(4),0-6,6-3.
Next up for Carreno Busta is the fifth seeded German Alexander Zverev who rallied from a set and a break down to the Croat Borna Coric in the afternoon session on Tuesday. Zverev dropped serve twice in the first set losing tamely 1-6 and trailed 2-4, before he rallied to become the first German into the last four in 25 years at the U.S. Open, Boris Becker being the last player to get there in 1995. Zverev, who also reached the last four at the Australian Open in Melbourne this year losing to the Australian Dominic Thiem, showed tremendous poise in the two tie-breaks which settled the second and third set. Zverev prevailed 3-6,7-6(5),7-6(1),6-3.
Third seeded Daniil Medvedev saved three set points in the first set tie-break in an all Russian quarter final match up but looked i superb form as he won 51 out of 57 points on first serve and saved the lone break point he faced in his 7-6(6),6-3,7-6(5) victory over the tenth seeded Andrey Rublev. The 14th ranked Rublev, a winner in Doha and Auckland in January this year, looked to have the upper hand in the first set tie-break as he led 5-1 and 6-3, but a forehand error at 6-5 on his own serve helped Medvedev to level at 6-6 and then took the momentum into the second set against an increasingly frustrated Rublev. Medvedev improves to 13-3 at the Open and 3-0 against his compatriot who was in his second quarter final appearance in New York, the first coming in 2017.
Medvedev next plays the Austrian second seed Dominic Thiem who completely outclassed the Australian Alex De Minaur 6-1,6-2,6-4 in the last quarter final match played in the evening session on Wednesday. There were four breaks of serve in the first six games and Thiem rallied from a 0-40 deficit to hold on to a 4-1 lead. The 27 year Austrian struck 43 winners against the 21st seeded Australian who had won two five set matches in the previous rounds. Thiem, a finalist at the 2018 and 2019 French Open and also at the Australian Open in January 2020 is now the favourite to claim his maiden grand slam title but will have his hands full against Medvedev on Friday.
The following is the semi final match up with my pick mentioned first :-
Alexander Zverev (5) v. Pablo Carreno Busta (20) ; Zverev leads 1-0
Dominic Thiem (2) v. Daniil Medvedev (3); Thiem leads 2-1.
Serena Williams continued her quest for a 24th career grand slam title as she played a third consecutive three set match at the Open, rallying from a set down to beat Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria. Next up is the former world number One Victoria Azarenka of Belarus who was a surprisingly easy 6-1,6-0 winner over Elise Mertens of Belgium. Azarenka, winner of two Australian Open title, is aiming to win her first grand Slam title after being a mother, just like Serena Williams. The other semi final pits the 2018 champion Naomi Osaka of Japan against the American Jennifer Brady. Osaka was a 6-3,6-4 winner over the American Shelby Rogers, while Brady took out Kazakhstan’s Yulia Putintseva 6-3,6-2.
– Rasesh Mehta [Rasesh Mehta is an analyst with the Tennis Galaxy. You can reach him at the email: email@example.com]