Carreño Busta edges Shapovalov in 5 sets to reach U.S. Open semis

Robert Deutsch-USA TODAY Sports
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NEW YORK — It took five sets and more than four hours, all the way until past 1 a.m. on Wednesday, for Pablo Carreno Busta to reach the U.S. Open semifinals for a second time.

That’s a lot more work than he put in a round earlier.

One match after advancing when No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic was disqualified in the first set, the 20th-seeded Carreno Busta expended a lot more energy and outlasted Denis Shapovalov 3-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4), 0-6, 6-3 in the quarterfinals at Flushing Meadows.

“I’m destroyed,” Carreno Busta said, “but I’m very, very happy.”

The 29-year-old from Spain also made it to the final four in New York in 2017, losing to eventual runner-up Kevin Anderson at that stage. That was the only previous Grand Slam semifinal appearance for Carreno Busta.

At least he’ll get a chance to rest up before playing Friday against No. 5 seed Alexander Zverev in the semifinals.

Zverev moved on by beating Borna Coric 1-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (1), 6-3 in a match that ended nearly eight hours earlier.

Carreno Busta’s victory went on so long that Shapovalov’s mother, who also coaches him, left her front-row seat behind a baseline to go grab a fresh pair of sneakers for the 21-year-old from Canada to change into after he dropped the third set.

Shapovalov, who frequently looked over at his mom and yelled in her direction after losing points, showed his frustration over ceding that set by taking a white towel and whipping it repeatedly on the ground after sitting on the sideline.

“I came out tight. I played tight in the tiebreakers,” said Shapovalov, who was making his debut in a Slam quarterfinal. “I’m sure the next time I’m in the situation, I’ll be more comfortable with it.”

But Shapovalov responded by rolling through the fourth set.

Before the fifth began, Carreno Busta was visited a trainer, who massaged his back. That clearly helped matters, because he was fresher at the decisive moments late, and got the break he needed to lead 4-2 in the fifth when Shapovalov double-faulted.

“He looked dead in the fourth,” Shapovalov said, “so it’s a little bit shocking.”

Carreno Busta had a much shorter outing in the fourth round Sunday. He was the opponent when Djokovic was defaulted for unintentionally hitting a line judge in the throat with a ball after getting broken to trail 6-5 in the early going.

In the quarterfinal, the outcome of most points depended on the 12th-seeded Shapovalov. The left-hander produced more aces, 26-5; more total winners, 76-33; more unforced errors, 77-42; more trips to the net, 70-19.

“I knew that Denis plays like this,” Carreno Busta said. “Aggressive. Very aggressive.”

Shapovalov also won more points overall, 160-153, but Carreno Busta won the most important: the last.

“You know going into the fifth set it’s the final one, so you try to push,” Shapovalov said, “but I was pretty tired and he moved much better in the fifth set.”

Auger-Aliassime, Shapovalov give Canada 1st Davis Cup title

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MALAGA, Spain — Felix Auger-Aliassime fell to his back behind the baseline, then waited for teammates to race off Canada’s bench and pile on top of him.

A few minutes later, the Canadians finally could lift the Davis Cup.

“I think of us all here, we’ve dreamt of this moment,” Auger-Aliassime said.

Canada won the title for the first time, beating Australia behind victories from Denis Shapovalov and Auger-Aliassime.

Auger-Aliassime secured the winning point when he downed Alex de Minaur 6-3, 6-4 after Shapovalov opened the day by rolling past Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-2, 6-4.

Seven years after leading Canada to the top of junior tennis, Auger-Aliassime, Shapovalov and their teammates finally got to lift the biggest team trophy in their sport.

“We wanted to grow up and be part of the team and try to help the country win the first title,” Shapovalov said, “so everything is just so surreal right now.”

Shapovalov had dropped both his singles matches this week and needed treatment on his back during a three-set loss in the semifinals to Lorenzo Sonego of Italy that lasted 3 hours, 15 minutes. But the left-hander moved quickly around the court, setting up angles to put away winners while racing to a 4-0 lead in the first set.

Auger-Aliassime then finished off his superb second half of the season by completing a perfect week in Spain. He twice had kept the Canadians alive after Shapovalov dropped the opening singles match, and he replaced his weary teammate to join Vasek Pospisil for the decisive doubles point.

This time, Auger-Aliassime made sure the doubles match wouldn’t even be necessary. After his teammates poured onto the court to celebrate with him, they got up and danced around in a circle.

Canada had reached the final only once, falling to host Spain in Madrid in 2019, when Rafael Nadal beat Shapovalov for the clinching point after Auger-Aliassime had lost in the opening match.

But with Auger-Aliassime having since surged up the rankings to his current spot at No. 6, the Canadians are a much more formidable team now. They won the ATP Cup in January and finally added the Davis Cup crown to the junior Davis Cup title Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov led them to in 2015.

Australia was trying for its 29th title and first since current captain Lleyton Hewitt was part of the title-winning team in 2003.

But it was finally time for the Canadians, who were given a wild card into the field when Russia was suspended because of its invasion of Ukraine.

“Look, I think we were very close today,” de Minaur said. “Just wait until the next time we get the same matchup. Hopefully we can get the win and prove that we can do it.”

But Canada will be tough to beat as long as Auger-Aliassime and Shapovalov play.

Shapovalov is just 23 and Auger-Aliassime 22, but both already have been Grand Slam semifinalists and Auger-Aliassime ended 2022 as one of the hottest players on the ATP Tour. He won all of his four titles this year, including three straight weeks in October.

He also beat Carlos Alcaraz in the previous Davis Cup stage in September, just after the Spaniard had won the U.S. Open to rise to No. 1 in the rankings. That victory helped send the Canadians into the quarterfinals, which they started this week by edging Germany.

“They’re not kids anymore, that’s for sure. Not after today – well not after the last couple of years,” said Pospisil, the team veteran at 32. “They’ve been crushing it.”

Australia beats Croatia 2-1 to reach Davis Cup final

Day Four - Davis Cup Finals 2022
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MALAGA, Spain – Australia had to fight back twice to reach its first Davis Cup final in 19 years after beating Croatia 2-1.

Lleyton Hewitt’s team recovered from losing the first singles. Then the Australian doubles pair battled back from a set down in the decider.

Australia won its 28th and last title in 2003. It has finally got back to the final.

“I am so proud. Australia has a really rich history in this competition,” said Hewitt, who played a record 43 Davis Cup ties for Australia from 1999-2018.

“We have been fortunate to win it all on a number of occasions a long time ago. And I know what it meant to me as a player to play a final, and I am glad these guys can play it.”

Borna Coric put Croatia ahead by beating Thanasi Kokkinakis 6-4, 6-3, but Alex de Minaur leveled after defeating Marin Cilic 6-2, 6-2 to send it to the doubles.

Jordan Thompson and Max Purcell then secured the semifinal win against Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic by 6-7 (3), 7-5, 6-4.

“This is what this team is about, that never-say-die attitude,” De Minaur said.

Canada will face Italy on Saturday in the other semifinal.

In the opener, Kokkinakis struck 11 aces, but Coric was able to break him once in each set.

“On my serve, I felt like it was an ace or he put it back on my toes,” Kokkinakis said.

Cilic, who was on the Croatia team that won the title in 2018, committed 10 double faults. That erratic serve helped De Minaur break Cilic four times and level his head-to-head record with the former U.S Open winner at two wins each.

Thompson and Purcell bettered the more experienced pair of Mektic and Pavic, both ranked in the top 10 in doubles. Thompson and Purcell combined for 13 aces, broke the Croats twice, and never dropped a service game to come back after losing the first-set tiebreaker.

Two-time winner Croatia was the runner-up last year.

“It proved too difficult on the court today,” Cilic said. “(But) for us it has been a great year again after the finals last year to reach the semis.”

The final is on Sunday on the indoor court in Malaga.