The top half of the BNP Paribas Open 2017 draw is set to conclude in a very unlikely fashion, with three-time grand slam champion Stan Wawrinka and No. 21 seed Pablo Carreno Busta facing off for a place in Sunday’s Showpiece Final at the Californian Desert. The pair have met twice previously, with Stan winning on both occasions.
Spanish No. 3 Pablo Carreno Busta took massive advantage of World No. 1 Andy Murray’s Round 2 loss to Vasek Pospisil in order to get this far at Indian Wells. This is the Spaniard’s first ever Semi Final at a Masters 1000 tournament. Busta’s main test came in the Quarter Finals, where he had to fight off match point to edge Pablo Cuevas in three tough sets. However, nothing can be taken away from Carreno Busta, who has been in great form this season, having reached the Final at Rio, SFs at Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires, and a Quarter Final showing at Sydney. The resurgent Spaniard will be looking to continue his fairy tale run by upsetting the Swiss No. 1 and getting a step closer to a landmark victory at Indian Wells.
Can the Stanimal unleash itself?
World No. 3 Stan Wawrinka has made it this far for the first time at Indian Wells. The Swiss looks to be in a good run of form since his Round 1 exit in Dubai. He had to overcome NextGen star Yoshihito Nishioka and World No. 9 Dominic Thiem both in a third set tie-breaker en-route the Semi Final. The Stanimal is known for his unpredictability, and looking at the way he’s been playing throughout this week, he certainly is on track for a flourishing finish at the Californian Desert. However, Carreno Busta is a pretty tricky customer. Wawrinka would be aware that he must be at his best if he is to pull through with ease. Following a tough win over Dominic Thiem, Wawrinka said,
“I have enjoyed really, the atmosphere here. Many long rallies, many aggressive points it was all fun to be part of for sure. I am looking forward to my first Semi (Final) here, it is going to be tough for sure but I will make sure I stay aggressive and play my best tennis.”
Although unexpected, this clash looks to be a rather intriguing one considering the resurgence of both players. Having come back from the brink of defeat twice thus far in this tournament, the odds are slightly in the favor of Stan Wawrinka. But we will have to see what Carreno Busta has in store, as even he will look forward to building upon the great season he has had until now.