Spain’s Pablo Carreno Busta plays a return to Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece during their fourth round match on day 8, of the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros in Paris, France, Sunday, June 6, 2021. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
- Hamburg quarterfinalist Pablo Carreño Busta came in 13-5 on clay so far during the 2021 season
- Opponent Dusan Lajovic was just 2-7 on clay during a challenging season overall
- They’ve gone three sets each time they’ve played on clay; we break down the matchup and make a pick
Despite being a Spaniard, Pablo Carreño Busta’s best career results have actually come on hard courts.
He’s been to the US Open semifinals twice in the last four years.
But in his career, his clay winning percentage of 55.6% is just a smidgen behind his hard-court winning percentage of 55.8%
Dusan Lajovic vs Pablo Carreño Busta Odds
| Dusan Lajovic (SRB)||+3.5 (+105)||+310||O 21.5 (-125)|
| Pablo Carreño Busta (ESP)||-3.5 (-150)||-450||U 21.5 (-115)|
Odds as of July 15at DraftKings
Carreño Busta now is 14-5 on clay this season And he played every week in the spring with the exception of the final tuneup week before the French Open, winning the season opener in Marbella.
Lajovic a Clay-Court Aficionado
On the other side, 31-year-old Dusan Lajovic is far better known as a clay-court player.
He has played more matches on clay than hard courts in his career (which is fairly unusual at the upper end of the rankings). His one career ATP Tour title (Umag in 2019) and final (Monte Carlo Masters, also in 2019) both came on the red dirt.
But Lajovic is having a terrible year – period. He came into Hamburg 9-17.
On clay, he had first-round losses in Monte Carlo, Belgrade I, Munich, Madrid, Rome and the French Open.
He won two matches at the second Belgrade tournament in his hometown, the week before Paris. So that puts him at 2-7 overall.
2021 US Open Odds Tracker
Both Beat Qualifiers in the Second Round
The road to the quarterfinals was similar for Lajovic and Carreño Busta.
In the second round, both defeated qualifiers who had gone three sets in their first-round match, and had already played two matches just to get into the main draw.
Lajovic had much more trouble with Alex Molcan of Slovakia. It took him two minutes short of three hours to finally dispatch him, 6-4, 6-7 (2), 6-3.
In part, it was his own doing.
Lajovic had 17 break points against Molcan’s serve; he managed to convert just four.
Dusan Lajovic vs Pablo Carreño Busta Match History
|2020||Masters Cincinnati (R64)||Outdoor Hard||7-5, 6-1||Carreño Busta|
|2017||Masters Indian Wells (R16)||Outdoor Hard||6-4, 7-6 (5)||Carreño Busta|
|2015||Nice (R16)||Outdoor Clay||6-3, 4-6, 7-5||Lajovic|
|2014||Masters Rome (Q2)||Outdoor Clay||6-2, 2-6, 6-3||Carreño Busta|
|2013||Blois Challenger (QF)||Outdoor Clay||6-3, 1-6, 6-1||Lajovic|
|2009||Egypt Futures (R16)||Outdoor Clay||7-5, 4-6, 6-4||Carreño Busta|
Carreño Busta defeated fellow Spaniard Carlos Taberner 7-5, 6-3, in a more efficient one hour and 44 minutes.
He was far more opportunistic, breaking five times in seven opportunities. They played 135 points in all; Lajovic and Molcan played 244 total points.
As well, Carreño Busta, as the No. 2 seed, had a first-round bye.
So he comes in a lot more fresh.
Dusan Lajovic vs Pablo Carreño Busta Head-to-Head
|31 (June 30, 1990)||Age||29 (July 12, 1991)|
|Stara Pazova, Serbia||Birthplace||Barcelona, Spain|
|1||Career ATP Singles Titles||5|
|No. 23 (April 29, 2019)||Career High Ranking||No. 10 (Sept. 11, 2017)|
|No. 43||Current Ranking||No. 13|
|$6,560,211||Career Prize Money||$11,696,093|
|11-17||2021 Won/Loss record||20-9|
|2||Career Head to Head||4|
Give Carreño Busta the Edge
The two haven’t played on clay in more than six years. And since then, both have risen to career-high rankings.
Carreño Busta is a lot closer to his right now than Lajovic is to the No. 23 spot he claimed in 2019.
Nole never in doubt.@DjokerNole fills the final spot in the semi-finals 4-6 6-2 6-3 6-4 over Carreno Busta.#RolandGarros pic.twitter.com/8NiH5Emd41
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) October 7, 2020
He made the fourth round in Paris last month, and also last October. Both times, he lost to the eventual finalist.
But all of those earlier clay-court matches between the two went the distance.
With two wins under his belt this week – matching his total for the entirety of the spring clay-court season – Lajovic will likely give Carreño Busta a better test than he might have just a few weeks ago. A little confidence can work wonders. But it won’t be enough.
Lajovic Ineffective as Underdog
So far in 2021, Lajovic has won just one of eight matches in which he was the underdog.
Pablo Carreño Busta has posted a 13-2 record when he’s the favorite.
It’s hard to go against that.
Best Bet: Carreño Busta -4.5 games (+110)
Stephanie gets the straight dope from the tennis insiders. On court, she has represented her country internationally. A BA in journalism led to years on the MLB beat and a decade covering tennis globally. She’s written for Postmedia, the Guardian, the New York Times and also publishes OpenCourt.ca.