Mark Petchey previews the US Open men’s semi-finals

We’ve asked our expert Mark Petchey to run the rule over the final four men standing at the US Open. Who will be the King of New York on Sunday?

As a tennis fan, I feel it has been one of the best Opens for a long time. I know there will be people who stick their stake in the ground for a certain player, but the withdrawals and shocks have left a great narrative to show that it’s much more than about certain-style players – it has come into its own.

You’re always going to get your headline act and big star in a movie, but at the end of the day if the movie itself is only as good as the cast, the plot, and the story, if you know what the outcome is then it’s not a particularly good movie. This one has had a lot of mystery, intrigue, and personally from an individual point of view I’ve loved it.

Rafael Nadal v Juan Martin del Potro

Del Potro is a guy who seems to produce something different. His headlines and wins are explosive and dynamic, yet here’s a guy that kind of lumbers around on the court and yet some of our greatest memories are of his wins. I think he shocked all of us with the way he was down match points against Dominic Thiem and then to recover from that five-setter and play the way he did against Roger Federer was beyond impressive.

The draw has been kind ranking-wise to Rafa. It’s allowed him to build momentum in this tournament. He kind of looks to be playing his best tennis again. He was magnificent against Andrey Rublev, but Del Potro will be a different test. He lost to the Argentine at the Rio Olympics last year so this will be interesting.

Del Potro comes in with genuine fire power and genuine belief that he can beat Rafa which not many players have. He’s a tall guy who takes the bounce on from this Arthur Ashe court this year relatively effectively.

Rafa will start as favourite but given the way that he’s playing right now Del Potro has a realistic chance of causing another upset.

Pablo Carreno Busta v Kevin Anderson

Kevin really deserves to be in the semi-finals. He has played some really aggressive tennis. You should be rewarded for bravery and he was brave against Sam Querrey in the quarter-finals. The draw also ended up favourable to him because he hasn’t had the best record recently against Alexander Zverev, but Borna Coric did him a favour, who he likes playing, and that’s the beauty of some of these draws.

Carreno Busta is one of those players that us fans love. We hugely appreciate what he brings to our sport. He doesn’t necessarily get enough time in the spotlight, but he’s managed to achieve that with some great results here.

Has he got the firepower to beat Kevin? I should think not, but again, it’s a massive step into the unknown for both players. It’s a fascinating semi.

Who is your favourite to win the title?

I think you’ve got to go with Rafa Nadal. The way he played the other day just gives you confidence and if he gets to play one of those other two in the final…

You can’t underestimate how big an achievement that is for them to reach the semi-finals and handle the whole occasion. They’re going to want to play their best tennis on court and that comes with more pressure.

You’ve got a major title to lose on Sunday if you’re Pablo Carreno Busta or Kevin Anderson and that will come with pressure. They will have to try and handle it so with that in mind you’ve got to say Rafa is the favourite.

Mark Petchey was speaking to Sky Sports’ Raz Mirza from New York. Sky Sports Tennis will have all the semi-final action from the US Open covered via our website www.skysports.com/tennis with our live blogs and updates as the Grand Slam year reaches its climax.

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