Pablo Carrena Busta is in the US Open semi-finals.
Pablo Carrena Busta is in the US Open semi-finals. RAY STUBBLEBINE

Spaniard steps out of Nadal's shadow

PABLO Carreno Busta wanted everyone to be aware there was more than one male tennis player in Spain.

And he's done a good job of showing there was more to the country's tennis than just world No.1 Rafael Nadal.

The 26-year-old will contest a grand slam semi-final for the first time after defeating Argentine Diego Schwartzman 6-4 6-4 6-2 at the US Open.

Beat either Sam Querrey or Kevin Anderson, and he could meet Nadal in the final.

Nadal plays Russian teenager Andrey Rublev in their quarter-final tomorrow, with the winner to clash with either Roger Federer or Juan Martin del Potro.

"Everybody knows Rafa, he's an incredible tennis player and one of the best ever,” said Carreno Busta.

"But there are a lot of good Spanish players. And now I am in the semi-finals of the US Open, and I think it is as important as if Rafa arrives to the semi-finals.

"So maybe it's easier when Rafa has all the attention and you are without this pressure? I don't know. Sometimes is good; sometimes is not good.”

Carreno Busta's side of the draw has opened up due to injury.

Andy Murray withdrew two days before the start, while two-time winner Novak Djokovic, 2016 champion Stan Wawrinka, Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori were also absent.

Carreno Busta has already become the first man to make the quarter-finals by facing four qualifiers in succession.

He saw off Evan King (ranked 308), Cameron Norrie (225), Nicolas Mahut (115) and highly-regarded Denis Shapovalov (69) before coming up against 33rd-ranked Schwartzman.

"Sometimes you are lucky; sometimes you are unlucky,” he said.