Tennis

Carreno-Busta finds vindication in Miami Open defeat of Anderson

Pablo Busta returns the ball to Kevin Anderson during the Miami Open tennis tournament in Key Biscayne, FL, Thurs., March 29, 2018.
Pablo Busta returns the ball to Kevin Anderson during the Miami Open tennis tournament in Key Biscayne, FL, Thurs., March 29, 2018. dvarela@miamiherald.com

Pablo Carreno-Busta was able to eliminate some of his bad memories in his tennis career as he defeated Kevin Anderson, 6-4, 5-7, 7-6 (8-6) in a dramatic men’s quarterfinal of the Miami Open on Stadium Court at the Crandon Tennis Center on Key Biscayne on Thursday.

In last year’s U.S. Open, Carreno-Busta and Anderson met in a semifinal showdown with Anderson winning in four sets before going on to lose to Rafael Nadal in the final. That loss to Anderson had a lingering effect on Carreno-Busta, so Thursday’s victory served as a form of vindication.

The triumph also propelled Carreno-Busta into the Miami Open semifinals where he will meet the winner of Thursday’s late match between Alexander Zverev and Borna Coric. The start of that match was postponed when the Stadium Court lights malfunctioned.

After his victory against Anderson, Carreno-Busta said with a smile: “It was an amazing match, no?”

In the second set, Carreno-Busta had two match points, but Anderson ended up winning the set and forcing a third set.

Not converting one of those two match points “was a really tough mental moment for me,” Carreno-Busta said, “but I continued fighting.

“When I lost the second set, maybe at the beginning of the third set, I was a little bit tired, and mentally, also. It was the crowd that helped. I think the victory, 50 percent is because of them.”

Carreno-Busta admitted Anderson is a nemesis.

“I lost three times, four times in the last year against him,” Carreno-Busta said. “It’s normal that you think about it. But of course in the semifinals in the U.S. Open was a very important match, and he beat me.

“But, you know, all the time that I play against him, it’s a close match.”

Carreno-Busta has won three ATP titles in his career, and his highest world ranking has been No. 10. He is the 16th seed in this Miami Open with Anderson, who lives in Delray Beach, checking in at No. 6.

Throughout the final set and the tiebreaker Thursday, fans obviously favored Carreno-Busta , constantly chanting “Let’s go Pablo” to urge on the 26-year-old Spaniard.

The entire match, for both players, was an exhausting display of linesmanship and angled shots as they sprinted back and forth along the baseline.

When all seemed nearly lost for Carreno-Busta in the tiebreaker as he trailed 5-3, he pulled himself together to tie it at 5-5 on a long hit over the baseline by Anderson followed by Carreno-Busta having a service winner. Then Anderson took a 6-5 lead and had match point but hit long once again to make it 6-6.

Busta closed it out when Anderson, whose height is 6-8, missed at the net followed by a service winner from Carreno-Busta.

“I am so happy,” Carreno-Busta said.

VENUS ON COLLINS

Despite losing decidedly to 24-year-old Danielle Collins 6-2, 6-3, in a surprising women’s quarterfinal late Wednesday night, seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams managed a smile in her postmatch assessment when she said of Collins, who grew up on public courts, “I think that most tennis players come up on public courts.”

Not particularly so since tennis is considered a country club sport. However, like Collins, Williams learned her tennis on public courts in California — and appreciates the experience.

MONEY, MONEY

With her victory over Venus, Collins was guaranteed of winning $327,965 at the Miami Open. That more than doubles her current career earnings.

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