Pablo Carreño Busta Upsets World No. 1 Novak Djokovic to Claim Bronze Medal at Tokyo Games

2020 Tokyo Games

Pablo Carreño Busta has proven his medal

The 30-year-old Spanish professional tennis player bounced back from a disappointing semifinal defeat by upsetting top-seed Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-3 to claim the bronze medal on Saturday at the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Pablo Carreño Busta

Carreño Busta, the sixth seed, who defeated World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev on the way to the bronze medal match, played aggressively throughout against Djokovic, striking the ball with great power on his groundstrokes. After squandering a match point at 6/5 in the second set tie-break, he raised his level in the third set to record victory in two hours and 49 minutes.

“I won [the] Davis Cup, and I’ve gone far in other tournaments, but winning an Olympic medal is indescribable,” Carreño Busta told ITFtennis.com. “I’ve felt the support from Spain, my family and people around me, and have received fond messages from those who saw me lose yesterday. I want to share this medal with all of them.”

Pablo Carreño Busta

Carreno Busta was making his Olympics debut this week and came into the event full of confidence having captured his first ATP 500 trophy at the Hamburg European Open earlier this month. The Spaniard also lifted the Andalucia Open title in Marbella on home soil in April.

Pablo Carreno Busta Wins First Career ATP 500 Trophy at Hamburg Open

Pablo Carreno Busta continues to impress on the clay courts…

The 30-year-old Spanish player defeated Filip Krajinovic, 6-2, 6-4, in the Hamburg Open final on Sunday.

Pablo Carreno Busta

The second-seeded Spaniard did not drop a set and converted all three of his break opportunities.

“It’s an incredible feeling,” Carreno Busta said. “I think that I worked very, very hard to finally win this title. It’s my first ATP 500 title.”

It’s Carreno Busta’s sixth title overall. He won in Marbella in April and he has now claimed 17 clay-court wins this season after reaching the semifinals at Barcelona and Mallorca.

The sixth-seeded Krajinovic was playing in his fourth ATP tour final. He upset top-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarterfinals but was unable to claim his first title.

“I hope it will come one day,” Krajinovic said.

Pablo Carreno Busta Reaches Hamburg Open Final

Pablo Carreno Busta is one win away from his sixth ATP title…

The 30-year-old Spanish player defeated Argentina’s Federico Delbonis 7-6 (2), 6-3 on Saturday to reach the Hamburg Open.

Pablo Carreno Busta

Carreno Busto, who last won a title at the Andalucia Open in April, will face Serbia’s Filip Krajinovic in the final.

His other titles include the Chengdu Open in September 2019, the Estoril Open in May 2017, the Kremlin Cup in October 2016 and the Winston-Salem Open in August 2016.

Carreno Busto is currently ranked No. 13 in the world.

Albert Ramos Viñolas Defeats Alejandro Davidovich Fokina to Reach Estoril Open Final

Albert Ramos Viñolas is one win away from his third career title…

The 33-year-old Spanish tennis player recovered from a break down in both sets to beat countryman Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-1, 6-4 on Saturday at the Estoril Open.

Albert Ramos Viñolas

Ramos Viñolas converted five of his six break points to advance to his 10th ATP Tour final (2-7) after 77 minutes.

Ramos Viñolas’ victory against Davidovich Fokina extended his lead at the top of the 2021 tour-level clay-court wins list.

The World No. 46 owns 15 victories on the surface this season, six clear of Stefanos TsitsipasPablo Carreno Busta and Federico Delbonis, who are tied in second place with nine clay wins this year.

Ramos Viñolas will attempt to extend his unbeaten 2-0 ATP Head2Head record against Cameron Norrie in the final. The two-time ATP Tour titlist won both his previous encounters against Norrie on clay.

“I am really happy… I am fighting a lot [and I am] tactically [doing] good,” Ramos-Vinolas said in his post-match interview. “Tomorrow is another match, another day and I have a really tough opponent who [has been] playing really good tennis [throughout] the season. Last week, he played three good matches and this week he has beaten very good players. I think tomorrow will be very difficult.”

Pablo Carreno Busta Outlasts Jaume Munar to Claim First Andalucia Open Title

Pablo Carreno Busta is celebrating a special first…

The 29-year-old Spanish professional tennis player won his first ATP Tour title at home on Sunday, defeating fellow Spaniard Jaume Munar 6-1, 2-6, 6-4 to claim the Andalucia Open trophy in Marbella.

Pablo Carreno Busta

Carreno Busta, the top seed, clinched his 200th tour-level victory by defeating the 23-year-old in the championship match. Carreno Busta needed to summon all of his experience to triumph after two hours and 21 minutes.

“I suffered like yesterday trying to continue fighting all the time… I needed to do it if I wanted to win this kind of match,” Carreno Busta said. “It’s a pleasure to win a title here in Spain, in Marbella. For me, it’s very special. It’s my fifth title, so I’m very, very happy for the victory.”

The level reached its peak towards the end of the match, with both men hitting sensational shots under an incredible amount of pressure. From magical drop shots to jaw-dropping half-volleys, they certainly showed their racquet skills on the Spanish clay.

“I started really good, really focused, being very aggressive,” Carreno Busta said. “After that I missed a little bit and Jaume started to play better and at the end.”

Now a five-time ATP Tour titlist, Carreno Busta was relentless in his pursuit of the win. At 4-4 in the decider, Munar fought hard to avoid losing serve. But on his seventh break point of the game, the favorite finally made good on his opportunity, blasting a backhand return up the line from deep in the court to force an error from his younger adversary.

Carreno Busta earned 17 break points in the match. Although he was unable to convert just four of them, it was enough to claim his first title since Chengdu in 2019. He earned 250 ATP Rankings points.

Next Gen ATP Finals alumnus Munar put forth a tremendous effort in his maiden ATP Tour final. The World No. 95 scratched and clawed no matter what Carreno Busta threw at him, but it was not enough to earn his first crown at this level. The World No. 15 was just a bit better on the day.

Munar, who captured 150 points, was comfortable in Marbella, where he’s now 12-3 on the ATP Tour and ATP Challenger Tour combined. He reached Challenger finals at this venue in 2020 and 2021 before his impressive run this week.

Rafael Nadal to Lead Spanish Team at Next Month’s ATP Cup

Rafael Nadal is headed back to the court next month…

The 34-year-old Spanish tennis star is set to return for the ATP Cup, the season-opening men’s team tennis event, starting February 1, but the United States will be missing because of a change in format that has halved the field.

Rafael Nadal

Nadal, last year’s runner-up, will be joined in the tournament by last year’s ATP Cup champion Novak Djokovic. His Spanish team includes Roberto Bautista Agut, Marcel Granollers and Pablo Carreno Busta.

Diego Schwartzman, Guido Pella, Horacio Zeballos and Maximo Gonzalez will represent Argentina in this year’s tournament, while Alex de Minaur will play for Australia and Steven Diez will represent Canada.

The inaugural event last year featured 24 teams and was played in three Australian cities, with Djokovic’s Serbia team beating Nadal and Spain in the final at Sydney’s Ken Rosewall Arena.

The February 1-5 second edition will involve 12 teams and be played entirely at Melbourne Park amid COVID-19 restrictions, along with WTA and ATP tournaments, in the week leading into the Australian Open.

The draw will be held on January 20, with teams divided into four groups. The winner of each round-robin group will advance to the semifinals.

Qualification for the ATP Cup was based on the ranking of each country’s top player, with Australia included on a wild-card entry. Other competing countries include Austria, Russia, Greece, Germany, Argentina, Italy, Japan, France and Canada.

All players arriving in Melbourne for the Australian Open will be required to quarantine for 14 days before the delayed start of the season’s first major. The Australian Open is usually staged in the last two weeks of January, but it has been pushed back to February 8-21 because of travel and other restrictions in place for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Qualifying for the men’s singles draw will take place in Doha, Qatar, and for the women’s in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, both running January 10-13.

As with other sports, the international tennis calendar was disrupted in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, including the postponement of the French Open‘s start from May to September, and the cancellation of Wimbledon for the first time since World War II.

Rafael Nadal to Face Pablo Carreno Busta in His Return to ATP Tour at the Italian Open

Rafael Nadal is heading back to competitive tennis play…

The 34-year-old tennis star will make his return to the ATP Tour against US Open semifinalist Pablo Carreno Busta at the Italian Open in Rome.

Rafael Nadal

In his first appearance since the ATP Tour suspension in March, the nine-time titlist will need to be at the top of his game when he meets his countryman for the sixth time in their head-to-head series (Nadal leads 5-0).

Carreno Busta has made a strong return to the ATP Tour, reaching his second US Open semi-final earlier this week. The Spaniard also lifted his maiden doubles trophy at the Western & Southern Open last month.

Nadal and Carreno Busta most recently met in the third round of this year’s Australian Open, with Nadal winning in straight sets. If he gets past Carreno Busta, he could meet Western & Southern Open finalist Milos Raonic in the third round. Nadal shares the bottom quarter of the draw with eighth seed Diego Schwartzman and US Open quarterfinalist Andrey Rublev.

The five-time year-end World No. 1 enters Rome with a 13-3 record this year. At his most recent event in February, Nadal did not drop a set en route to his 85th tour-level trophy at the Acapulco Open in Mexico.

Chasing his 10th title at the Foro Italico, the Spaniard will look to add to his 61-6 record at the ATP Masters 1000 event. Nadal is currently on a 10-match winning streak in Rome, having won the past two editions of the tournament. The 35-time ATP Masters 1000 winner won three-set battles against Alexander Zverev in the 2018 championship match and Novak Djokovic in last year’s final.

If Nadal triumphs for the third straight year in Rome, he will capture a 10th trophy at a single event for the fourth time in his career. He owns 12 French Open trophies and has won 11 crowns at both the Monte Carlo Masters and the Barcelona OpenRoger Federer is the only other player to have reached double digits at a single ATP Tour event in the Open Era. He owns 10 trophies at the Noventi Open in Halle and the Swiss Indoors Basel.

Pablo Carreno Busta Outlasts Denis Shapovalov to Reach US Open Semifinals

Pablo Carreno Busta has made it to the Final Four at this year’s US Open

The 29-year-old Spanish tennis player battled through five sets in a four-hour evening match that ended after 1:00 am to defeat Denis Shapovalov 3-6, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (4), 0-6, 6-3 in the quarterfinals at Flushing Meadows. And now Carreno Busta is back in the US Open semifinals for a second time.

Pablo Carreno Busta

It’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 expended a lot more energy and outlasted Shapovalov in a long and tense match.

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

Carreno Busta 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.

Alex de Minaur & Pablo Carreno Busta Claim Western & Southern Open Men’s Doubles Title in Team Debut

It’s a debut to remember for Alex de Minaur and Pablo Carreno Busta

The 21-year-old Uruguayan/Spanish-Australian tennis player and his 29-year-old Spanish doubles partner completed their team debut week by lifting the Western & Southern Open title on Saturday.

Alex de Minaur & Pablo Carreno Busta

After breaking serve at 5-5 in the second set, rain forced the unseeded duo to wait until the conclusion of the singles final to complete a 6-2, 7-5 victory over Jamie Murray and Neal Skupski at Louis Armstrong Stadium.

De Minaur and Carreno Busta, who trailed 0-4 in the second set, held their nerves to hold serve on the deciding point and claim their maiden ATP Tour doubles trophies after 83 minutes.

Carreno Busta was competing in his fourth tour-level doubles final, while de Minaur was making his debut in an ATP Tour doubles championship match.

Alex de Minaur & Pablo Carreno Busta

“It was a good week for us,” said Carreno Busta. “We lost in the singles and we just tried to continue to play matches. It is important for us to get rhythm, to get confidence and I think the doubles, on this occasion, was good for this.

“We didn’t expect to arrive to a final and win the tournament, but we played the last matches better than the first ones.”

de Minaur and Carreno Busta have impressed from their first match at the ATP Masters 1000 event. The team upset defending champions Ivan Dodig and Filip Polasek in the first round and also beat eighth seeds Wesley Koolhof and Nikola Mektic en route to the championship match.

“It is a great feeling [to be back on the ATP Tour]. I am very happy to be back on court and hopefully this week in doubles can give me some confidence and momentum going into next week,” said de Minaur.

Murray and Skupski were also attempting to capture their first ATP Tour doubles trophy as a team. The Brits began their partnership by winning the Arizona Tennis Classic — an ATP Challenger Tour event — in March 2019.

After four service holds to open the final, de Minaur and Carreno Busta played the better tennis in crucial moments to earn four consecutive games and the first set. Carreno Busta flicked a pinpoint lob over Skupski’s head to reach deciding point at 2-2 and the Brit volleyed beyond the baseline to concede the break. de Minaur and Carreno Busta capitalized on Skupski double faults to gain a second break, before clinching the set after 30 minutes with a de Minaur service hold.

Murray and Skupski responded quickly in the second set, extracting multiple errors from Carreno Busta’s backhand and showcasing quick reactions at the net to earn a 4-0 lead. But Carreno Busta and de Minaur charged back and earned their third break of the set at 5-5 when Skupski fired long with a backhand approach shot. After an extended rain delay and a court switch to Louis Armstrong Stadium, the debut team captured the trophy on deciding point when Carreno Busta landed a forehand volley winner.

Carreno Busta and de Minaur earn 1000 FedEx ATP Doubles Ranking points and share $80,000 in prize money. Murray and Skupski earn 600 points and split $68,000.

Roberto Bautista Agut to Headline the Three-Event Series ‘UTR Pro Series-Spain’

Roberto Bautista Agut is heading back to the court…

The 32-year-old Spanish professional tennis player will headline the UTR Pro Series-Spain, a three-event series that’ll be played on successive weekends beginning July 10 in Barcelona.

Roberto Bautista Agut

Conspicuous in his absence: ATP No. 2 ranked Rafael Nadal, who hasn’t taken part in any of the growing number of “re-opening” events tennis entrepreneurs and officials have staged during the suspension of ATP and WTA tennis due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Spanish events will feature Bautista Agut, ranked No. 12 in the world, No. 25 Pablo Carreno Busta, and Albert Ramos-Viñolas, who is No. 41. Two of the other committed players are well-known veterans Fernando Verdasco and Feliciano Lopez, both of whom are still ranked in the Top 100.

The UTR Pro Series tournament format is modeled on the wildly popular exhibition event created by Roger Federer, the Laver Cup (this year’s event, scheduled for Boston in late September, has been canceled due to a conflict with the postponed French Open). 

The eight participants in the UTR showdown will be divided into two teams. The matches will be best-three sets, but with a match tiebreaker in lieu of a third set.

UTR, or Universal Tennis Rating, is an organization built on the foundation of a rating system that differs substantially from the formal ATP ranking system. It rates all players, including top pros, solely on the basis of their results against each other in recent matches recognized by UTR. It’s already widely used in junior play and by college recruiters, and has sponsored a number of exhibitions in recent months.

Federer is out of action for the rest of the year due to an aggravated knee injury. Novak Djokovic made his first appearance as a player during the coronavirus pandemic in late June, but the four-tournament Adria Tour he conceived turned into a debacle due to an outbreak of coronavirus. Djokovic was among those who tested positive for Covid-19.

Nadal has kept his distance from the exhibition circuit, and has also expressed disappointment at the prospect of playing without fans in attendance at the upcoming US Open. He hasn’t yet decided if he’ll defend his title in New York.