Carlos Alcaraz 19 reaches first grand slam semifinal after marathon; late-night finish against Jannik Sinner
It was the tournament’s latest conclusion ever, by nearly half an hour. When Alcaraz, 19, sealed match point after coming perilously close to loss in the previous set, he sank to the floor and put his palm over his face in horror.
The five-hour and fifteen-minute triumph, 6-3 6-7 6-7 7-5 6-3, was Alcaraz’s second straight marathon match after his five-set win against Marin Cilic in the previous round.
Sinner was serving for the match at 5-4 in the fourth set, but Alcaraz came back to force a decider by winning the next three games in a row and saving a match point in the process.
Sinner, 21, then led by a break in the fifth set, only for Alcaraz to refuse to surrender once again. He is the youngest men’s major slam semifinals since fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal in 2005, and the youngest US Open semifinalist since Pete Sampras in 1990.
“I constantly tell people that they have to believe in themselves all the time,” Alcaraz stated during his on-court interview. “The last thing you lose is hope…”
I have to stay in the game while attempting to remain cool, which is tough in that situation.” Alcaraz will face another first-time grand slam semifinals in Frances Tiafoe, who overcame Andrey Rublev in his quarterfinal.
Alcaraz, who was playing in his third grand slam quarterfinal, got out to a quick start on Wednesday, breaking Sinner’s serve three times in the opening set.
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He had set points in the second set to increase his lead, but Sinner fought on and forced a tie break, during which the Italian saved another set point and leveled the match.
— Feliciano López (@feliciano_lopez) September 8, 2022
In the third set, Alcaraz led by a break and was serving for the set at 6-5, but Sinner fought back and won the subsequent tie break to love.
The edge was now with the 21-year-old, but it was Alcaraz’s turn to dig deep this time, saving a match point in the fourth and battling back from a break down in the fifth.
“I feel excellent physically for the entire battle, five hours and fifteen minutes,” Alcaraz told reporters. “Of course, the level of tennis that we played was quite high. But I felt fantastic.”
With a loyal throng following on as the match proceeded into the early hours of the morning, the roller coaster contest is likely to be recognized as one of the finest in US Open history.
Alcaraz’s behind-the-back baseline shot while under pressure in the second set was arguably the outstanding moment. He won the point with a backhand passing shot, motioning to the spectators in delight.
— Coco Gauff (@CocoGauff) September 8, 2022
“This match is ridiculous. I depart for the airport at 6 a.m., but I refuse to sleep and will miss this “Coco Gauff, an American actress, tweeted.
Following top-ranked Daniil Medvedev’s early retirement from the competition, Alcaraz may still become the youngest No. 1 in men’s rankings history next week if he wins.