Updates: Carreno Busta Closing In On US Open Final
Pablo Carreno Busta is one set from reaching his first Grand Slam final, leading favoured fifth seed Alexander Zverev 6-3, 6-2 on Friday in the semi-finals of the US Open.
The Spaniard has shown few nerves in the biggest match of his career, playing steady tennis and taking any opportunity to aggressively target the German’s forehand. Even after taking the lead, he has accelerated harder, going after second-serve returns and keeping the pressure on Zverev, who has found little rhythm through two sets. The German has made 36 unforced errors compared to only 12 for Carreno Busta.
Carreno Busta faced a break point in his second service game, but raised his level after that. He broke twice in the opening set, hitting two crisp backhand passing shots in the early going to boost his confidence.
Zverev’s two-handed backhand is his most trustworthy shot, but even that was misfiring in the second set. Zverev made 12 unforced errors within the first four games to dig himself a hole. The German avoided a total washout heading into the third set, breaking at 0-5 and holding to get some momentum going, but Carreno Busta erased a 0/30 deficit in the next game to earn a two-set lead.
Zverev trailed early in his quarter-final against Borna Coric on Tuesday, losing the first set 1-6. But in the middle of the second set, he began to play more aggressively and found his range from the baseline. That has not been the case against Carreno Busta.
Both players are pursuing their first appearance in a major final. World No. 27 Carreno Busta can become the second-lowest-ranked tournament finalist since the FedEx ATP Rankings were established in 1973. The man who beat Carreno Busta in the 2017 US Open semi-finals, then-World No. 32 Kevin Anderson, holds that distinction.
Zverev, who is trying to become the first German US Open finalist since Michael Stich in 1994, made his first Grand Slam semi-final earlier this year at the Australian Open.
Nobody remaining in the draw has won a Grand Slam title, guaranteeing a first-time major champion for the first time since the 2014 US Open (Marin Cilic).