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Nadal Sets Sights On Snapping Del Potro's Run

The semi-finals on Friday feature two former US Open champions and two Grand Slam semi-final debutants. The 2017 US Open is the first Grand Slam event to feature three double-digit seeds or unseeded players in the semi-finals since 2002 Roland Garros: [11] Juan Carlos Ferrero, [18] Alex Corretja and [20] Albert Costa.

All three were Spaniards, and the 2017 US Open has been another breakout tournament for Spain. Two Spaniards are in the semi-finals for the first time in US Open history: Rafael Nadal and Pablo Carreno Busta.

Rafael Nadal will carry an 8-5 FedEx ATP Head2Head record into his semi-final with Juan Martin del Potro.
No. 1 Nadal and No. 24 seed Juan Martin del Potro resume their rivalry with the Spaniard holding an 8-5 FedEx ATP Head2Head lead. However, the Argentine leads 5-4 on hard courts, winning the past two meetings (2013 Shanghai, 2016 Rio Olympics). Nadal is 3-2 in US Open semi-finals and 22-3 in Grand Slam semi-finals overall, winning the past 14 since falling to del Potro at the 2009 US Open.

The Spaniard is looking to reach his 23rd career Grand Slam final (15-7) and third of the season (1-1). This is del Potro’s second US Open SF and fourth Grand Slam SF overall (1-2). The 2009 US Open champion last reached a Grand Slam SF at 2013 Wimbledon (l. to Djokovic).

Nadal won 10th titles at the Monte-Carlo Rolex Masters, Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell and Roland Garros. It was in Paris he passed Pete Sampras for second all-time with 15 Grand Slam titles. He also won a fifth Mutua Madrid Open on clay.

Del Potro, who saved match points to beat Dominic Thiem in five sets in the fourth round, is appearing in just his second ATP World Tour semi-final of the season, having reached the last four at Delray Beach. He is one of only five players to have beaten both Roger Federer and Nadal at the same tournament.

In the first semi-final on Arthur Ashe Stadium, No. 28 seed Kevin Anderson brings a 2-0 FedEx ATP Head2Head record against No. 12 seed Carreno Busta, who has not dropped a set in five matches (15-0). The last time two first-time Grand Slam semi-finalists met in a SF was 2005 Roland Garros (Puerta d. Davydenko).

Carreno Busta is attempting to become the first US Open champion since Neale Fraser in 1960 to win the title without dropping a set. The 31-year-old Anderson has only been broken three times in 87 service games (97 per cent), saving 15 of 18 break points.

Anderson is the first South African to reach the US Open semi-finals since Johan Kriek in 1980 (l. to Borg). He bids to become the first South African in a US Open final since Cliff Drysdale in 1965 and a Grand Slam final since Kriek won the 1981 Australian Open (d. Denton). Kriek represented the USA when he won the 1982 Australian Open.

Anderson, Carreno Busta and del Potro are all capable of milestones based on their ranking. As the World No. 32, Anderson is the lowest-ranked player in a Grand Slam semi-final since No. 34 Tommy Haas at 2009 Wimbledon and in a US Open semi-final since No. 54 Mikhail Youzhny in 2006.

Anderson or the 28th-ranked del Potro could become the lowest-ranked US Open finalist and/or champion since the inception of the Emirates ATP Rankings in 1973.

The South African or Argentine could also become the lowest-ranked Grand Slam finalist since No. 38 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the 2008 Australian Open. Anderson, del Potro or the 19th-ranked Carreno Busta could become the lowest-ranked Grand Slam champion since No. 44 Gaston Gaudio at 2004 Roland Garros.

If Carreno Busta defeats Anderson and Nadal defeats del Potro, Carreno Busta would be the lowest-ranked US Open finalist since No. 22 Mark Philippoussis in 1998 and Grand Slam finalist since No. 25 Robin Soderling at 2009 Roland Garros. Carreno Busta would be the lowest-ranked US Open champion since the 20th-ranked Agassi in 1994.

In a stop-start season due to injury, Anderson has found form on the North American hard courts, reaching the Citi Open final in Washington, D.C. and the Coupe Rogers quarter-finals, losing both times to Alexander Zverev. Earlier in the season he reached the semi-finals on clay at the Millenium Estoril Open.

Carreno Busta won that tournament, without dropping a set, for his third ATP World Tour title. The Spaniard was a runner-up in Rio de Janeiro and a semi-finalist in Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo and at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.

Source: http://www.atpworldtour.com/en/news/nadal-del-potro-carreno-busta-anderson-us-open-2017-sf-preview

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