Pablo Carreno Busta did more than just claim his fifth ATP Tour title with a victory in the final of the AnyTech365 Andalucia Open. The Spaniard reached a major career milestone as he sealed his 200th tour-level win by defeating Jaume Munar in the championship match.
“It’s a big number. We’re talking about a lot of wins on tour,” the Spaniard admitted to ATPTour.com. At 29 years of age, Carreno Busta has a 200-169 record since turning professional on 9 April 2013. “I wouldn’t be able to choose one. I’ve had very good wins that are special because of the opponent, the circumstances or their significance to me.”
Of all the matches he has won, the No. 12 player in the FedEx ATP Rankings chooses his Top 5 favourite battles on the ATP Tour.
Pablo Andujar – Casablanca, 2013
The Asturias native earned his place in the Casablanca main draw in 2013 by coming through three rounds of qualifying. The draw matched him up with fellow Spaniard Pablo Andujar, who had won the title in the previous two years (2011, 2012). But Carreno Busta, at 21 years of age, won 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 in two hours and four minutes.
“It was the first ATP match I won. 2013 was a really great year for me because I won so many matches. I’d just had a back operation and I won seven Futures events in a row, four Challenger tournaments and after coming through qualifying in Casablanca, I beat Andujar. Then I lost to Kevin Anderson. It was the start, the first match I won and I will always remember it.”
Pablo Cuevas – Indian Wells, 2017
Dropping to his knees on court at Indian Wells, the Spaniard celebrated reaching his first semi-final at an ATP Masters 1000. To reach the last four at the BNP Paribas Open, he had to save two match points, defeating Pablo Cuevas 6-1, 3-6, 7-6(4) in a tough clash that lasted two hours and 4 minutes.
“It was in the quarter-finals, I won 7-6 in the third set to reach my first Masters 1000 semi-final. Also, it was at Indian Wells, which is one of the best tournaments in that category. It was a fantastic week. I remember how much my coach Cesar [Fabregas] and I enjoyed ourselves there.”
Milos Raonic – Roland Garros, 2017
His 200 wins include six against Top 10 opponents. One of the most special of those came at Roland Garros, when he reached the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time against then-World No. 6 Milos Raonic. “I remember having both my coaches Samuel [Lopez] and Cesar there with me, as well as my manager, Albert Molina.”
“It was a match that showed me my game was good enough. It was the first big result I had in a Grand Slam, then came the US Open semi-final later that year. But in Paris I’d beaten Dimitrov in the previous round, then Raonic in a really long match (4hr, 17 min), which ended 8-6 in the fifth set. It was a very emotional and special match.”
Kevin Anderson – Miami, 2018
Having bowed out to Kevin Anderson in the fourth round of the 2018 BNP Paribas Open after losing 7-6(6) in the third set, a week later in Miami fate would give Carreno Busta a second chance to beat the South African, then a Top 10 player. Carreno Busta sealed his pass to the semi-finals at the ATP Masters 1000 event in a match that ended in the same fashion; 7-6(6) in the decider.
“I’d just lost to him in Indian Wells and a week later I came up against him again in the quarter-finals in Miami. I had the chance to close out the match in the second set, but failed. But I kept fighting and took it in the third, 7-6. When you have such a close scoreline, with such difficult moments to play through, in stadiums that big and with players so great, it’s always exciting.”
Denis Shapovalov – US Open, 2020
When the ATP Tour restarted after the break for the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the first stops on the schedule was the US Open. There, Carreno Busta progressed to the semi-finals for the second time in his career (2017, 2020). His match against Denis Shapovalov was very special, not only because of the result and the stage of the tournament, but also because of the psychological and emotional value.
“At the last US Open, after what happened in the previous round to Novak Djokovic and the way it happened, beating Shapovalov reaffirmed that I was there because I deserved to be. And it was a match that finished in the fifth set. I gave it my all, I beat him and was back in a US Open semi-final for the second time. For me it was confirmation that it was no fluke that I was able to win that match. I think that that’s really important.”