Day 9. Quarterfinals. Pablo Carreno Busta

Andy Taylor. Tennis Host. 2017 US Open. Quarterfinal. Day-9. Pablo Carreno Busta defeats Diego Schwartzman

Tennis Host. Andy Taylor. The Voice of the US Open

Pablo Carreno Busta def Diego Schwartzman 64 64 62

Like anything else in life, tennis is about seizing opportunity. Andy Murray. Novak Djokovic. Stan Wawrinka. Kei Nishoikori. Milos Raonic. Prior to the start of the season’s final Major, five of the sport’s top-11 players were absent from the field. Factor in the typical list of Slam upsets — new, unfamiliar faces were inevitable by week-2.

Welcome to the 2017 US Open, where Pablo Carreno Busta is a Grand Slam Semifinalist

Not to discredit Pablo’s remarkable accomplishments this season…he’s had a hell of a year. He started 2017 as the #30 player in the world. By July, he was in the top-15. First, he reached his maiden ATP 500 Final at the Rio Open. Pablo then broke into the top-20 with his first Masters 1000 Semifinal run at Indian Wells. He won the title in Estoril, then reached his first career Grand Slam Semifinal at Roland Garros. He stepped-up his fitness and consistency. That alone has given him the chance to take advantage of gaping holes in the US Open draw.

His Quarterfinal opponent, 5’7″ Diego Schwartzman, was in the same position – elevating his level of play at just the right time to take advantage of top-seeded absence. He came into this year’s Open with a career-high ranking of #33 in the world. In the past month, he scored the two biggest wins of his career: Saving four match points to defeat Dominic Thiem in Montreal, then upsetting 2014 Champion Marin Cilic in the US Open’s 3rd-Round.

Tuesday was a huge opportunity for both

Neither was facing a perennial favorite, and to make the opportunity even more enticing – their Semifinal opponent wouldn’t be Federer or Nadal. It would be Kevin Anderson or Sam Querrey. Juicy chances like these don’t come around often.

Simply put, on Tuesday – in his US Open Quarterfinal debut – Pablo Carreno Busta was the better player. He earned his fifth consecutive straight-sets win of the tournament. His only two hiccups:

  • An unsportsmanlike conduct call in the first set, upset over a few unfavorable calls from chair umpire Carlos Ramos.
  • Up a break in the third, Pablo threw-down a double fault to fall behind 0-40. But, just when it looked like Diego had a chance to get back into it, Carreno Busta won three consecutive points and secured the hold from deuce.

Pablo will find out who he faces in the Semifinals tonight. While he’s never faced Sam Querrey before, Carreno Busta has fallen twice to Kevin Anderson, including a straight-sets loss last month in Montreal.