There will be a new slam champion on the men’s side of the US Open after Novak Djokovic’s shocking default on Sunday. Pablo Carreno Busta, the beneficiary of that default, appears to be among the least likely to grab that opportunity but anything could happen for him or opponent Denis Shapovalov. The Canadian is in his first slam quarter-final at the age of 21 and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him make the final, where anything could happen.
Carreno Busta’s 2017 run to the semi finals looked like it would be impossible to be repeated but the Spaniard is now just one match away from doing so after Sunday’s drama. He was to serve for the first set before getting the default victory, holding his own against an opponent who was unbeaten all year.
Shapovalov looks set to remain a solid top 20 player for a good while now after solidifying his place with this run to the last eight. He will hope to be joined by Felix Auger-Aliassime at this stage but there is no doubt that Canada’s best hopes are with the man already through to this stage. He has had to work hard to get this far, backing up his five set win against Taylor Fritz with a 6-7 6-3 6-4 6-3 win over David Goffin – getting broken just once by the Belgian.
At this stage of the tournament, mindset will be just as important for the remaining contenders. Shapovalov feels he has improved much in this regard with his coaching partnership with Mikhail Youzhny working wonders. “I feel like Mischa has helped me a lot with that, just not going out there and trying to blast balls left and right, but actually playing smarter and playing more crafty, he’s such a crafty player. I’m thankful he’s been able to teach me some of that, help me implement that in my game.” he said. The Canadian will be the favourite to take this one but should he be off his game, the Spanish brick wall of Carreno Busta may have enough to take advantage.
Prediction – Denis Shapovalov in four sets