The quarterfinals are set and both tournaments are wide open. This is the first set of predictions since Novak Djokovic was defaulted from the tournament and so it feels as though there is perhaps more riding on each match. Every one of the players left in the draw will think that they have a great chance of winning their first Grand Slam title.
The two quarterfinal matches on day nine are previewed below. Andy Watson, Harsh Bhoot, Damian Kust, Jim Smith & Yesh Ginsburg give their verdicts on how the matches will play out and who will progress into the U.S. Open semifinals.
US Open Day Nine Predictions
Pablo Carreno Busta vs Denis Shapovalov
Andy: Denis Shapovalov has dynamic shots and a big left-handed serve that suggest that he has a huge future in the game. Pablo Carreno Busta was on his way to winning the first set against the best player in the world before Djokovic’s mistake saw him defaulted. The Spaniard also leads their head-to-head 3-1, all three wins coming on a hard surface, including in the U.S. Open in 2017. Carreno Busta also boasts a better win percentage in the last twelve months and has better hold/break data than the Canadian. I appreciate that tennis is played on the court, not on the spreadsheet, but he has posted those numbers for a reason.
Prediction: Carreno Busta in 5
Harsh: Keeping Djokovic’s default aside, Carreno Busta played exceptionally well in the first set against the Serb and that should give him a lot of confidence heading into the quarters. The Spaniard would need every bit of it because his opponent Shapovalov is playing some sublime tennis at this year’s US Open. The Spaniard leads the head-to-head 3-1, but this match feels like it could go either way. Expect long baseline rallies with the Spaniard directing a lot of balls to the Shapovalov backhand. The Canadian has the foot speed and power to dictate the majority of the points from his forehand and with his big serve, Shapovalov should be the one just clinching it.
Prediction: Shapovalov in 5
Damian: The manner in which Carreno Busta advanced to the quarterfinals is mind-boggling, but the tournament goes on. The Spaniard has put together a solid week so far and was a semifinalist in this event back in 2017. In the fourth round there, he defeated Denis Shapovalov, who was playing in only his second Grand Slam event. Three years later, the Canadian is surely a better player now. His serve became a more potent weapon and his shot selection has been getting better. Finding the right balance between great shotmaking and slowly constructing the point can be very hard, but his performance against Goffin tells me he’s ready for the job.
Prediction: Shapovalov in 4
Jim: Carreno Busta may have advanced to the quarterfinals in unfortunate circumstances, but that is not to say that he does not belong in this rarified air. Shapovalov, meanwhile, is enjoying the finest run of his fledgling career, with his win over David Goffin in the last 16 one of the best of his career. Carreno Busta will test him, but with the quick surface rewarding his brand of first-strike tennis, it is a test the young Canadian should be equipped to pass.
Prediction: Shapovalov in 4
Yesh: Shapovalov has not been impressive in his matches individually, but the overall run is shaping up to be a breakout performance for the Canadian. Meanwhile, his opponent will have to deal with the turmoil of just how his upset over Djokovic ended. That’s stress that a player doesn’t need at this stage of a Major.
Alexander Zverev vs Borna Coric
Andy: Alexander Zverev’s form on the ATP Tour has been horrendous, but his Grand Slam record now stands at 9-1 this year. Borna Coric, meanwhile, is also putting a very mediocre set of results on hard court behind him in this US Open. Both players have been impressive, but Zverev is the player with the bigger weapons if he gets the chance to deploy them. However, Coric has had his number with a 3-1 career record against the German, with one of those wins coming at the US Open in 2017. The Croatian is the underdog here but I think he could pick off the higher seed here in a long match.
Prediction: Coric in 5
Harsh: Zverev seems to be locked in at this year’s US Open and doesn’t seem to be bothered much about his past Grand Slam struggles. He controlled his second serve well while blasting away the in-form Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. The Croatian is on his best Grand Slam run ever and leads the head-to-head against Zverev 3-1 as well. But their last meeting was two years ago and based on the form the German has shown after exiting Cincinnati early, Zverev should be the one dictating the baseline rallies and claiming the win.
Prediction: Zverev in 4
Damian: Coric saved six match points against Stefanos Tsitsipas in the third round. While physically tiring, this kind of win provides a player with a massive boost to confidence. After an easy fourth round match, the Croat should be able to regenerate a lot of energy for his first major quarterfinal. But I don’t think he’s getting through Zverev. The German’s second serve still misfires a lot but his first is a huge weapon in this New York fortnight. He’s had to battle some tough opponents and problem-solved well in every match. On top of that, he’ll feel the great opportunity that has been presented to him and should step up to make his best attempt at taking it.
Prediction: Zverev in 4
Jim: Coric has spent the last eight days reminding the tennis world why he was once one of the brightest young stars in the men’s game. Injuries and a loss of form have since waylaid him, but Coric remains a formidable foe, one who does not always know when he is beaten. Zverev, however, has looked increasingly confident in New York and has the firepower to hit through the Croatian. If he can maintain his focus, expect him to do so, even if Coric does land some counter-blows.
Prediction: Zverev in 5
Yesh: It’s been quiet, but Coric has been playing as well as anyone in this tournament. The Zverev serve is nearly unbreakable when it’s on, but the German has had periods of inconsistency here. Expect Coric to force a few more of those moments in a big match.
Prediction: Coric in 4