The breakdown of the bottom half of the draw in the men’s tournament means there is one hell of an opportunity for someone to play in their first grand slam final. Americans would have been hoping that man would be Sam Querrey at the quarter final stage but it was not to be as he fell in the last round. Kevin Anderson is the man highly favoured to do so but will need to beat Pablo Carreno Busta to get there.
Having never made a slam quarter final before, it is quite the step up for Anderson to likely being in a final come Sunday night. The draw broke well for him as he managed to avoid Alexander Zverev, who would have been a third round opponent had it not been for Borna Coric. He defeated the Croatian in straights before wins over Paolo Lorenzi and the aforementioned Querrey. Unsurprisingly, the latter was a match with little given away on serve with Anderson broke just once in the 7-6 6-7 6-3 7-6 victory. That was in the second set, which he lost from *4-3 up. Overall though, he was huge on serve with 22 aces while winning over 80% of his first serve points. It has been a consistent them throughout his tournament and sees him as the tournament ace leader while having won 83% of points on first serve overall. “You know, you always are expecting tiebreaks. You maybe get one or two chances and, you know, it’s sometimes difficult. I remember playing him at Wimbledon in the second set where I really felt I had a few more opportunities than him, but he came up with some unbelievable serving. Again, tonight a few break points, and you just have to stay really patient when sort of chances come and go a little bit.” he said on what it was like playing Querrey.
While Pablo Carreno Busta has had an exceptionally kind route to the semi finals, you have to be impressed with the way he has dealt with it with the minimum of trouble. He has not lost a set on the way there, most impressively nullifying the threat of the in-form Denis Shapovalov in round 4. The Canadian lost three tiebreak sets, finding it tough against the grinding game of Carreno Busta. He eased past Diego Schwartzman in the last round, breaking the Argentinian 6 times overall on the way to a 6-4 6-4 6-2 victory. More importantly, he played the key points well including three straight from 0-40 down at 3-4 in the second. Losing one of them could have changed the whole dynamic but the hold there allowed the Spaniard to push on.
“It’s always difficult to play against him, because he has a really good serve and really good forehand. I will try to play to his backhand.” he said on the threat of facing Anderson. It’s always easier said than done though, with the huge Anderson serve putting you on the back foot from the start. Rafael Nadal may well be up in the final for the winner and while an all-Spanish final would be a huge moment, there’s not a great deal to suggest that would be remotely competitive. Anderson will be hoping to extend his record against Carreno Busta to 3-0 and 2-0 on the year. It was just last month when he won in straights in Montreal. “It was a tough match, really windy that day. Both of us struggled for rhythm. This is new ground for both of us. There will be adjustments we both have to make.” he said.
Prediction – Kevin Anderson in 4 sets