Rafael Nadal and Juan Martin del Potro are known entities; Kevin Anderson now has dedicated blog space, too. The only remaining question mark among the four U.S. Open men’s semifinalists is Pablo Carreño Busta. The answer is that he is a 26-year-old tennis player from Gijon, Spain, and the No. 12 seed.
In his first four rounds, Carreño Busta played opponents who had to qualify for the tournament, a first at any Grand Slam in the Open era. Perhaps not totally unrelated from the previous fact, he has not dropped a set in the first five rounds, including a close, three tie-break match against the artist formerly known as El Shapo. It’s been a smooth journey for Pablo. Said Roger Federer in his post-match presser after losing to del Potro: “I mean, in a way it’s been a struggle for everybody here, except maybe Carreño Busta. He’s just been cruising.”
Carreño Busta won his only title of the year on clay at the Estoril Open, and, like many Spaniards, prefers that surface, having played 70 percent of his career matches on it. He also experienced a very painful injury at the French Open while playing Nadal. If you want to learn a little more (but not too much) about him, try this interview over at El Español. Here are a couple of answers, gracefully handled by Google Translate.
He is 26 years old, an age to eat the world. Have not you been going out for a long time and get drunk?
I can count on the fingers of the hand the times that I have become rubbery. Not usually happen, although I do party, always without overcoming. Right now, for example, I have not gone out for quite a while.
On dealing with low expectations:
The feeling is that it seems that has always been questioned, that there were people who did not give a hard for you.
I know. Many did not give a damn about me. When I was 15, I wondered why the Spanish Federation bet on me with a scholarship. When I was 16, and they took me to the Orange Bowl (a prestigious junior tournament), they questioned why they took me. And so in many other stages. Surely that has made me so strong in the head, that nobody gave a hard for me. It is a motivation.
That’s enough excitement for one blog. Carreño Busta may be the result of an unusually weak, lopsided draw where the hyped-up young phenom in his half nose-dived in the second round, but he is also a self-described “quiet, ambitious, fighter” about to play the biggest match of his life. Best of luck to the man who triumphed over Diego Schwartzman and Nicolas Mahut to get here.