WHAT HAPPENED: No. 12 Pablo Carreno Busta became the first man to enter the 2017 US Open semifinals Tuesday morning with a convincing straight-set win over No. 29 Diego Schwartzman 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 in Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Schwartzman, normally a scrappy, feisty competitor in any situation, looked uninspired in the first set, as he was broken in the first and sixth games for a Carreno Busta 5-2 lead. Schwartzman managed to make it interesting — with help from a Carreno Busta double fault at 30-40 — as the young Spaniard sought to serve out the set. Schwartzman quickly held and Carreno Busta was faced with having to close out the first set again on his serve. He was convincing and overwhelmed Schwartzman on his serve for the rest of the match.
Schwartzman enters his first major semifinal with the win. "It is something that I always dreamed," he said after the match.
Both men seemed fully warmed up in the second set and traded booming ground strokes from the baseline. But it was a combination of big serves and a lackluster return game — normally, Schwartzman is one of the game’s best returners — that gave Carreno Busta the edge. The turning point for the set and the match came with Carreno Busta serving at 3-4. Schwartzman was up 0-40 in the game and his best chance to take a lead came at 30-40. A strong return set up an easy floater in the middle of the court for Schwartzman — who promptly rifled it into the net. it was that kind of a day for Schwartzman, who was then overwhelmed in the third.
Schwartzman was two-for-10 on break points over the match and committed 35 errors to 21 winners. Carreno Busta took advantage of his opportunities, converting six of eight break points.
Carreno Busta will face either No. 17 Sam Querrey or No. 28 Kevin Anderson in Friday's semifinal match.
Carreno Busta vs. Schwartzman
WHY IT MATTERS: Carreno Busta is a 26-year-old Spaniard who has spades of talent and came into the US Open riding a title on clay this year and two on the hard courts in 2016. But he hadn’t yet been tested at this year’s US Open, having won in straight sets in every match against four qualifiers, the first man to make the quarterfinals against qualifiers at a major in the Open era. One of those wins, however, came over electrifying Canadian teenager Denis Shapovalov.
Schwartzman, meanwhile, was tested, taking out No. 5 Marin Cilic, a US Open champion, and No. 16 Lucas Pouille. It may have contributed to his wear in the Tuesday matchup.
MATCH POINT: Carreno Busta will go from playing one of the shortest players on tour in Schwartzman, who is 5-foot-7, to one of the tallest in Querrey or Anderson. Can he handle a big server and make his first Grand Slam final?