US Open Tennis 2020: Men's Semifinal TV Schedule, Start Times and Picks

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistSeptember 11, 2020

Daniil Medvedev, of Russia, reacts during a match against Andrey Rublev, of Russia, during the quarterfinals of the US Open tennis championships, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
Seth Wenig/Associated Press

One of the four men playing in the U.S. Open men's semifinals is two wins away from his first Grand Slam championship. 

Three of the players still alive in the men's draw are top-five seeds, and they were all projected to go deep into the tournament at the USTA National Tennis Center.

Pablo Carreno Busta is the surprise semifinalist of the group, and he will face Alexander Zverev in Friday's opening match at Arthur Ashe Stadium. The semifinal stage is the furthest either of those two players have advanced in a Grand Slam.

Daniil Medvedev and Dominic Thiem have landed spots in the last two Grand Slam finals, but neither broke through against respective opponents Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. 

Friday's second scheduled match between the No. 2 and No. 3 seeds may produce the 2020 U.S. Open men's singles winner. Both players were viewed as the top threats to Djokovic before the top seed was disqualified in the fourth round.

           

U.S. Open Men's Semifinals Information

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Start Time: 4 p.m. ET 

TV: ESPN 

Live Stream: ESPN.com or ESPN app

        

Picks

No. 20 Pablo Carreno Busta over No. 5 Alexander Zverev

Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

Carreno Busta has a chance to strike early against Zverev and keep that advantage for the rest of the match. 

In Zverev's quarterfinal win over Borna Coric, he struggled to find a rhythm in the first set and won just a single game. Zverev was broken twice by Coric and took one of his six second-serve points.

The fifth-seeded German may not have the luxury of rebounding fast from a sluggish start against a player that has experience at the Grand Slam semifinal stage. 

Carreno Busta won the first set of his 2017 U.S. Open semifinal against Kevin Anderson. He lost the next three sets, but he should have learned from that experience and will know how to avoid a letdown better over five sets.

The 20th-seeded Spaniard displayed his fight in the win over Denis Shapovalov, as he won the second, third and fifth sets to clinch his spot in the final four.

Carreno Busta's fifth-set victory emphasized that, as he rallied back from being shutout in the fourth set to win the match. 

Against Shapovalov, Carreno Busta earned 21 break-point opportunities but only converted on five of them. If he finds holes in Zverev's serve and is more effective on break points, Carreno Busta can create advantages for himself throughout the match. 

Zverev will not let his opponent win easily, but he will have to improve his service play to land in the final. He put 71 percent of his first serves in play against Coric and won just 41 percent of 41 points on second serve. 

If Zverev is not more accurate on serve, Carreno Busta should have the break-point opportunities needed to close out sets and take the match.

            

No. 3 Daniil Medvedev over No. 2 Dominic Thiem

Seth Wenig/Associated Press

Medvedev has been the most consistent player in the men's draw. 

The 2019 U.S. Open finalist has not lost a set, and even when he looked challenged by Andrey Rublev in the quarterfinal, he shook that off with relative ease.

Medvedev survived three set points in a first-set tiebreak and allowed zero break-point chances to his fellow Russian.

In his last two matches, the third-seeded player has allowed a single break-point chance, which was forced by Frances Tiafoe in the fourth round. 

If he remains that effective in service games, Medvedev could find himself in the final as the favorite to win the tournament. 

Since losing the third set to Marin Cilic in the third round, Thiem has outscored his opponents 43-18 in seven sets. 

Even though he cruised past Alex de Minaur in the quarterfinals, Thiem displayed one weakness that could cost him the match against Medvedev. The 2020 Australian Open finalist won 14 of the 36 points on his second serve. 

If Thiem is unable to improve that total, Medvedev could have the window to break and earn a slight advantage in each set. 

Medvedev also carries a slight head-to-head advantage over Thiem, as his only win over the Austrian occurred on an outdoor hard court in Canada in 2019. The Russian won that match 6-3, 6-1.

If he remains solid on serve and takes advantage of his chances to break, Medvedev could level his head-to-head record against Thiem and move one step from his first Grand Slam title.

            

Follow Joe on Twitter, @JTansey90

Statistics obtained from USOpen.org and ATPTour.com