Level-Headed, Carreño Busta Into US Open Semifinals

WASHINGTON, September 10, 2020 (by Michael Dickens)

Pablo Carreño Busta overcame back pain, 76 winners and the never-say-die spirit of No. 12 seed Denis Shapovalov, and somehow after four hours and nine minutes managed to emerge from his Tuesday night quarterfinal match victorious, 3-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4), 0-6, 6-3. It advanced the 20th seed from Spain into Friday’s semifinal round against fifth seed Alexander Zverev of Germany.

Throughout, Carreño Busta remained pretty level-headed, never too high or too low. He went after everything he could until he needed a medical timeout to have his back administered to. It seemed to make a difference in the outcome.

“I’m destroyed but I’m very happy,” Carreño Busta said during his post-match interview on court that came in the early hours of Wednesday morning. “It’s incredible to be back in the semifinals. I think I’m very comfortable on these courts.

“I think the past months during quarantine was very tough for everyone. I worked very hard with my coach. When you work hard, normally the results arrive. Maybe not in the first tournament, but I’m very lucky to be in the semifinals.”

Carreño Busta won with 33 winners despite committing 42 unforced errors. He was outpointed by the Canadian No. 1, Shapovalov, 160-153.

Shapovalov, in doing his virtual press conference, said it was tough to look at positives. “It’s a tough moment,” he said. “I was in that match. I had a good chance to win it. I was almost in every set. Very frustrating right now.

“But for sure, a hell of a run for me. I’m lucky to be in this position. Taylor Fritz was serving for the match against me. Could have been out by the third round. It’s definitely a great week and a half for me.”

Osaka: A vessel spreading awareness

After Naomi Osaka won her singles quarterfinal against Shelby Rogers Tuesday night, it prompted Tennis.com writer Steve Tignor to acknowledge this about the 2018 US Open champion, who has emerged as one of the most articulate and focused voices in tennis:

“Another source of motivation, or at least satisfaction, for Osaka is the fact that, with every win, she has a chance to wear another mask with the name of another African-American recently killed by law enforcement— tonight she wore George Floyd’s name. Osaka said at the start of the tournament that she had seven masks, and her goal was to show us all seven.

“Rather than adding pressure, her embrace of activism this summer seems to have focused her and given her an added sense of purpose. There are two more masks to show, two more Black Americans to memorialize, and two more matches to win.”

Dinner for five with a tennis twist

On Tuesday, The Tennis Postcast tweeted this lovely proposal: “You can have five dinner guests of your choice from the world of tennis, past and present, for one night out. Who you having?”

Twenty-four hours later, the tweet has generated more than 200 responses with a variety of interesting dinner groups, including one from longtime writer and broadcaster Richard Ingham Evans which included Hall of Famers Jack Kramer, Jean Borotra, Alice Marble, Owen Williams and Billie Jean King.

The Tennis Podcast co-host Catherine Whitaker selected her five: Chris Evert, Mary Carillo, Billie Jean King, Arthur Ashe and Andy Murray.

My list includes: Arthur Ashe, Bud Collins, Mary Carillo, Martina Navratilova and Roger Federer.

By the numbers

Out of the bubble with Stefanos

 The last word