Alcaraz no Sinner, prepares to meet Foe

SPANISH third seed Carlos Alcaraz‘s Grand Slam and number one ranking dreams remained alive following an epic five-set win over Italian Jannik Sinner. Alcaraz must reach the US Open final and either beat Casper Ruud, or hope Ruud loses his semi-final in order to claim the number one spot for the first time. That was the furthest thing from his mind against the 11th seeded Sinner as the pair put together a display that was hard to believe was real.

The future of the ATP Tour was on show in the match, which went not only five sets, but five hours and 14 minutes. It had it all, with Alcaraz looking likely to go two sets to love up, only to drop the second set in a tiebreaker 9-7, then lose the third in a tiebreaker to love and be on the back foot. Sinner had a match point and looked like closing it out in four sets, but blinked and the Spaniard roared to life. The pair kept trading blows for the rest of the match, as Alcaraz claimed the fifth set, then won the final three games of the match to win 6-3 6-7 6-7 7-5 6-3 in the latest match in US Open history.

When the match ticked past 2:30am local time midway through the third set, the clash had already gone later than any other US Open match before it, and it went an additional 20 minutes to 2:50am before the Spanish third seed could finally celebrate. Falling 11 minutes short of the all-time record, Alcaraz was left lost for words as to how he managed to come back from not only two sets to one down, but also a match point in the fourth, and several crucial breaks of serve.

“Honestly, I still don’t know how I did it,” Alcaraz said post-match. “You have to believe in yourself. I believed in my game. “It was really difficult to close out the match. I tried to stay calm, but it is difficult in the moment.”

The result levelled the head-to-head between the future stars at two wins apiece, as Alcaraz smashed 58 winners for only 38 unforced errors, while the Italian had three more winners (61), but 25 more unforced errors (63). Though at his best Sinner looked incredible, he had his moments where he fell away, and understandably looked tired at the end of the match. Nonetheless, it was a contest for the ages, and Alcaraz kept the dream alive of being the youngest ever world number one at just 19 years-old.

The Spaniard will now take on American Frances Tiafoe, after the giant-killing 22nd seed rolled on past ninth seeded Russian Andrey Rublev in straight sets. Though by comparison the two-hour 36-minute match was a speedy one, Tiafoe was at his brutal best again, having to win in two tiebreakers before closing the match out, 7-6 7-6 6-4. The American served up 18 aces to 14 and hit 46 winners to Rublev’s 31 as the American did not drop a break of serve, and instead broke just the once in the third set to claim the win.

“This is wild. This is crazy,” Tiafoe said post-match. “I had the biggest win of my life 24 hours ago and coming out and getting another big win… “Andrey’s a hell of a player, and to back it up, that’s huge. “It’s tough to turn the page, but I did and now I’m in the semis.

“I feel so at home on courts like this. “This court is unbelievable. [The crowd] gets so far behind me, I want to play, I want to give my best. “I always find a way somehow on this court, “I always play some great tennis and I have been. “Let’s enjoy this, we’ve got two more.”


[3] Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) defeated [11] Jannik Sinner (ITA) 6-3 6-7 6-7 7-5 6-3
[22] Frances Tiafoe (USA) defeated [9] Andrey Rublev (RUS) 7-6 7-6 6-4

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