Daniil Medvedev on Day Two of the 2020 Nitto ATP World Tour Finals in London, UK
Daniil Medvedev on Day Two of the 2020 Nitto ATP World Tour Finals in London, UK | (Photo by TPN/Getty Images)

Tennis | US Open 2020 | A Slam breakthrough beckons – Men’s semi-final preview

  • Daniil Medvedev will face Dominic Thiem in the semi-final featuring the two highest seeds in the bottom half of the US Open draw
  • The Russian is the only player remaining en route to become the first in the Open era to win the US Open without losing a set
  • In the other semifinal, Alexander Zverev and Pablo Carreno Busta aims to reach their maiden Grand Slam final
NEW YORK, USA –  The 150th different Grand Slam champion will be crowned at the 2020 US Open. Four men remained in the main draw to fight for the title.


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Pablo Carreno Busta [20] v Alexander Zverev [3] | H2H: Zverev leads 0-1

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The No.3 seed Alexander Zverev appears in his second Grand Slam semi-final after the 2020 Australian Open. He became the first German US Open semi-finalist since Boris Becker in 1995. A German player hasn’t advanced to the final since Michael Stich in 1994, while the last triumph dates back to Becker in 1989.

Zverev improved his US Open performance for the third straight year. He will meet Pablo Carreno Busta trying to extend his 1-0 lead in their head to head having beaten the Spaniard at 2018 Miami.

He struggled to repeat at Grand Slam-level his successes in Masters 1000 events. He said after his quarter-final victory.

“I wanted it too much. I was trying too hard in Grand Slams, as well. I needed to learn with that, as well. I needed to learn how to deal with that pressure. I needed to learn how to deal with those expectations of myself. Yeah, it took me a little bit of time, but, you know, now I’m in the semifinals of the US Open and I definitely don’t want to stop here”


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He can’t be satisfied in simply getting the ball in play to make the breakthrough. Carreno Busta knows how to cope with a quick surface. Besides, he can apply constant pressure on serve and return. Zverev looked assured when he put the first serve in, but seemed extremely insecure on second serve, even more from the deuce side.

Carreno Busta, the 2017 US Open semifinalist, has the ability to wait for a chance and take it clinically. He moved to the semif-inals thanks to Novak Djokovic‘s default, the first at US Open in the Open Era, then he survived a five-set thriller against Denis Shapovalov. He’s definitely ready to fight.

Prediction: Carreno Busta in four sets.



Daniil Medvedev [3] v Dominic Thiem [2] | H2H: Thiem leads 3-1 (inc. juniors)

No player in the Open Era has won the US Open men’s singles title without dropping a set. Daniil Medvedev is the only player who has not lost a set during the 2020 US Open. In the semi-final featuring the two highest seeds in the bottom half of the draw, he will face Dominic Thiem. They looks like the strongest candidates to become the first new Grand Slam champion since Marin Cilic won it in 2014. and the first born in the 1990s after 63 straight majors clinched by players born in the previous decade.

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The No.2 seed, a three-time runner-up at the Slams, holds a 2-1 edge in career meetings as a “pro” after beating the unorthodox Russian in their only clash as a junior. Thiem led the ATP Tour with 211 wins between 2016 and 2019, qualifying for the ATP Finals each year.

The Russian, who pushed Rafael Nadal to the very limit in the 2019 US Open final, shows the best of his tricky game thus far. Powerful and explosive, he can hit massive first and second serves, slice and dice his opponent in tense rallies before dropping the hammer with a whipped forehand.

He’s the only player in the draw who could become the first player in the Open era to win the US Open without losing a set. In his post-match press conference after the quarter-final victory against longtime friend Andrey Rublev, he described the challenges of facing the Austrian.

“Thiem [is] very aggressive, tries to take everything with his forehand, goes for it, doesn’t ask questions. […] Dominic is a tough opponent to play, especially of course on clay. I got to feel it last year in the final of Barcelona. On hard I think it’s a little bit easier, but in a way. When I say “easier,” he just made final of Australian Open. For me it will be easier for me to play him on hard courts than clay courts.”

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Thiem is expected to turn around the ball and hit a booming forehand from the ad-side to avoid backhand-to-backhand battles. He will need patience and accuracy from the back as Medvedev can upset him in different ways. The Austrian is more the one-dimensional kind of player, although he perfected his style to apply an almost unsustainable pressure.

Under Nicolas Massu‘s guidance, he clearly worked to return more aggressively on quicker courts, to step into the court a bit more than he used to and he produced stunning results in the last couple of years.

However, he needs force to generate power, while Medvedev moves and bits like a snake throughout the court. We expect a stimulating five-set battle.

Prediction: Thiem in five sets.


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