The US Open this year has been characterised by myriad shocks and the absence of some of the sport's most famous names, including Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Milos Raonic, Kei Nishikori and last year's winner Stan Wawrinka.

That has left two intriguing and downright surprising Men's semi-finals at Flushing Meadows. Our man Danny Archer has previewed all the action...

Pablo Carreno Busta (41/20 Unibet) vs. Kevin Anderson (4/11).

This has to be one of the most bizarre Grand Slam semi finals in recent times. Neither player has ever reached this far in a Major and have benefitted from the drastic break-up of the bottom half of the draw. Carreno Busta joins fellow Spaniard Nadal in the last four and the Gijon native, renowned for being a perennial clay court specialist, highlighted by his quarter-final appearance at this year's French Open, has enjoyed a stellar fortnight in New York thus far. Winner of three career titles, the 26-year-old reached a career high no.15 this year and has not dropped a set in his five matches at Flushing Meadows. After comfortable victories over King, GB's Cameron Norrie and Mahut in the first three rounds, Carreno Busta prevailed in three tiebreak sets against Next Gen star Denis Shapovalov in R4 before the 12th seed dismissed Argentinean Diego Schwartzman with a facile 6-4 6-4 6-2 in the quarter-finals. His draw has been kind but the right-hander has been ruthless in taking his big chance and he deserves enormous credit for that.

He faces big serving South African Kevin Anderson in the first of the two men's semi-finals. The 31-year-old was once seeded as high as 10 in the men's game in 2015 but has struggled to find consistent form since. Winner of three career titles, Anderson is currently ranked 32 in the world but with the bottom half of the draw opening up, he has also taken his chance to reach a maiden Grand Slam semi-final with both hands. Anderson is a consistent player whose best efforts at the three other Grand Slam's have all been fourth round losses. A knee injury in 2016 curtailed his form but he has roared into life on the hard courts this term. Beaten by Next Gen ATP star Alexander Zverev in the final of the Citi Open in Washington DC, Anderson then tasted defeat in the quarter-finals of the Rogers Cup in Montreal to the same rival. In New York, Anderson breezed through his first three matches with straight-set wins over Aragone, Gulbis and Coric. Italian Paolo Lorenzi took him to four sets in R4 before the Johannesburg-born native surprised top seeded American Sam Querrey in four tight sets in the quarter-finals. That was a huge win over an in-form rival fresh from a Wimbledon semi-final appearance and with that in mind, Anderson, with the bookmakers anyway, enters this match as a warm favourite.

Archer's Ace - Anderson to win. Given his liking for the hard courts and the effectiveness of his serve so far this fortnight, Anderson deserves to be a warm favourite. His big-serving game could prove too much for a flair player like Carreno Busta but his skinny price tempers enthusiasm. With that in mind, over 9.5 games in the first set at 4/9 with Unibet could be worth backing. With this being both men's first semi-final appearance, over 3.5 sets at 8/13 with Unibet is also interesting.

Best bet - over 3.5 sets. £20 returns £48.60 with Unibet.

Rafael Nadal (7/20 Unibet) vs. Juan Martin Del Potro (43/20)

Nadal

The second semi-final is an absolute humdinger between two former winners of the Flushing Meadows crown. World No.1 Nadal has been in irresistible form so far in the second week. Winner of this event in 2010 and 2013, the Spaniard was not his usual convincing self on the court in the first week as he laboured to a three set win over Dusan Lajovic in R1 before four-set victories against Japan's Taro Daniel and Argentina's Leonardo Mayer in R2 and R3 respectively. However, this week, the 31-year-old has ramped up the quality in decisive straight set victories over controversial figure Alexandr Dolgopolov and Next Gen ATP star Andrey Rublev. That has set him up perfectly as he seeks to land a 16th Grand Slam title and his second this year following his capture of La Decima at Roland Garros. Always a rustic mover who puts great strain on his whole body as he flies round the court, Nadal's inside out forehand has looked scintillating this fortnight and he looks to be in his best physical shape for a long time.

Standing in his way and a date with a possible third title at New York is the Tower of Tandil, Del Potro. A surprise winner at Flushing Meadows in 2009, the Argentinean has been plagued with a wrist injury since which has blunted his ability to play a series of matches over a sustained period of time. A bronze medal winner at the 2012 London Olympics, Del Potro lost a sensational four set final in the 2016 Rio Olympics to Britain's finest Andy Murray. The 28-year-old helped steer his team to victory in last year's Davis Cup but prior to this semi-final run here, had endured a tough 2017 campaign. Beaten in the second round at Wimbledon, Delpo lost in the early rounds at Montreal in the Rogers Cup, Cincinnati and Washington. Delpo's upturn in form in New York saw him defeat Laaksonen, Menendez-Maceiras and Bautista-Agut in straights in his opening three rounds. The 24th seed then launched a remarkable comeback five-set comeback against Austria's Dominic Thiem. The sixth seed cruised to a two-set lead with the Tower of Tandil reportedly considering retiring. However, with the help of medication, Delpo launched a spirited comeback to win in five and set up a quarter-final clash with Roger Federer, the man he beat in the 2009 final in New York. A sensational four-set win over the Swiss now sees the big-server back in the big time and he will prove a huge threat to Nadal despite the possible issue of fatigue.

Archer's Ace - Over 3.5 sets looks safe bet. I've had a long, hard think about this match and whilst it's easy to see Nadal steamrollering Delpo, the big man is in sensational form and is relishing his position as underdog. He is not one to be underestimated and with that in mind, over 3.5 sets at 4/7 with Unibet looks decent value.

Best bet - Over 3.5 sets. £20 returns £31.60 with Unibet.

Danny's Double

Kevin Anderson vs Pablo Carreno Busta - Over 3.5 sets at 8/13

Rafael Nadal vs Juan Martin Del Potro - Over 3.5 sets at 4/7

£30 returns £76.79 with Unibet.

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