Tennis

Spaniard Busta happy to play in Nadal's shadow

Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta said playing in the shadow of Rafael Nadal, his country's most celebrated tennis player, has helped to keep the pressure off him as he has quietly advanced to the semi-finals of the US Open.

The soft-spoken 12th seed has yet to drop a set in the tournament having benefited from a kind draw.

He did not face a seeded player until yesterday morning's (Singapore time) quarter-final clash with 29th seed Diego Schwartzman, who he dispatched 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 to reach the last four.

"If you speak with some Spanish people about tennis, they will know Rafa," said Busta.

"Rafa is an incredible tennis player. He is one of the best ever.

"Maybe it's just easier when, in your country, Rafa has all the attention and you are without this pressure."

Busta counts the world No. 1 not only as a good friend but also as a mentor who has helped him reach his first Grand Slam singles semi-final.

"I always try to practise with him because it's really important to me, to be near the best players and practise with them," he said.

"I just try to learn about how he practises, what he does before and after practices and matches... I'm learning a lot."

He might benefit from picking Nadal's brains before his semi-final match against powerful South African Kevin Anderson tomorrow morning.

Anderson defeated 17th-seeded American Sam Querrey 7-6 (7/5), 6-7 (9/11), 6-3, 7-6 (9/7) in the quarter-finals yesterday morning to become South Africa's first US Open semi-finalist since Cliff Drysdale in 1965.

"This is incredible, at this stage and playing on one of the most famous courts in the world, it feels absolutely fantastic," said Anderson. - WIRE SERVICES

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