The US Open has thrown up many a surprise this year. Big seeds such as Marin Cilic, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, and Grigor Dimitrov have all fallen short. Along with the absence of Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray through injury, Flushing Meadows may see the birth of a surprise superstar.
That man could be Pablo Carreno-Busta.
The fairly unheard of Spaniard is in fact World #19. Due to the high number of top players not featuring at the Grand Slam, Carreno-Busta was seeded number 12, which has without doubt aided this second Grand Slam quarterfinal appearance in his career.
The 26 year-old has progressed well with a first round victory over American qualifier Evan King. Next up he defeated Britain’s qualifier Cameron Norrie, before dispatching Nicholas Mahut, all in straight sets.
His fourth round match against youngster Denis Shapovalov was far from easy though. The Spaniard was made to work for his reward of a quarterfinal place. Yet, he progressed again in straight sets, beating the Canadian 7-6(2) 7-6(4) 7-6(3).
The right-hander has produced a mixed year on tour so far. A quarterfinal place in Sydney a week before a Australian Open Round of 32 exit began his year in satisfactory fashion.
He kicked on with semifinals in Buenos Aires and Sao Paulo, before making his mark on the year as he reached the final of the Rio Open in Brazil, losing out to Dominic Thiem in straight sets. On the tougher stage of the Masters, Carreno-Busta made it to semifinals in Indian Wells. Stan Wawrinka was the man to stop him in his path.
The former World #15 again showed his talent at the Estoril Open in Portugal, defeating Giles Muller, David Ferrer, and Nicholas Almagro on the way to his only title of the year so far.
At the French Open, on his favourite surface, Carreno-Busta demonstrated his talent on the big stage, beating Grigor Dimitrov and Milos Raonic, only for Rafael Nadal to defeat his fellow Spaniard in the quarterfinals. His year has dipped since then and did not enter Wimbledon.
Carreno-Busta first gained some minor notoriety for a 39-match win streak in early 2013 (between seven Futures titles and one tour-level event), but he did not achieve real success on the main tour until this year.
However, Pablo Carreno-Busta has the attributes to go all the way to the final. Next up is either Lucas Pouille or Diego Schwartzman. Neither are world beaters and Carreno-Busta will fancy his chances. If he progresses through to the semifinals his toughest opponent would be Kevin Anderson.
We could very well see another Spaniard reach the US Open final.
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