Carlos Alcaraz won a riveting next-gen battle against Jannik Sinner to reach his first ever Grand Slam semifinal in the final final of the US Open.
Alcaraz finally clinched a 6-3, 6-7 (7), 6-7 (0), 7-5, 6-3 victory at 2:50 am after five hours and 15 minutes of thrilling tennis to set up a showdown with the house favorite Frances Tiafoe on Friday.
Notably, three matches had previously ended at 2:26am, while this was the second time Alcaraz had played beyond 2:00 in a row after his fourth-round win over Marin Cilic ended at 2:23am.
The 19-year-old saved a match point in the fourth set and came off a decision break against the 21-year-old to demonstrate again why he is tipped to dominate the sport.
The Spanish teenager also added another spectacular shot to his growing list when he landed an audacious back kick that ended up establishing a cross forehand winner on the court in the second set.
Alcaraz could still leave New York as world number one, but in a tournament that appears to have finally signaled a true change of guard, this match was more than anything a demonstration that men’s tennis need not be afraid of a future. no aging superstars.
The fans who stayed until the end applauded Alcaraz a lot, and he said: “I honestly still don’t know how I did it. The level of the game, the quality of the tennis.
“Today’s game is unbelievable. Jannik Sinner is a great player. I will never get tired of saying that all the victories I have on this incredible court are thanks to the support I receive.
“I just believed in myself, I believed in my game. I knew that closing a match is very difficult, I have to stay in the game, try to stay calm.”
Sinner’s spell as tennis’s brightest young talent was quickly interrupted by the emergence of Alcaraz, who overtook his rival and entered the top 10.
But the Italian came out on top in their last two encounters, in the fourth round at Wimbledon and then at the ATP tournament in Umag, Croatia.
Sinner started nervously, committing three double faults in his opening serve game, and while he recovered quickly, Alcaraz was hitting his shots with greater conviction and deservedly won the first set.
The second was without a doubt the best of the tournament so far. This time it was Sinner who moved into the early lead, with his flat flat giving him the initiative, and he maintained his lead until it came to serve at 5-4 when Alcaraz broke back.
The Spaniard looked set to win the set as he went 0-40 in Sinner’s next serve game, only for the Italian to produce some clutch service when he needed it most.
With Sinner on point of play to force a tie-break and after another excellent serve, Alcaraz delivered the shot of the tournament, wrapping his racket behind his back to send the ball flying low over the net and then passing his opponent with a winner.
Arthur Ashe fans couldn’t believe what they had witnessed, but Alcaraz then threw a forehand into the net at set point while Sinner held.
Alcaraz had one more chance to take the set in the tie-break, but Sinner saved it with an ace and then hit a backhand in the corner to tie the dispute.
If Alcaraz wondered how he hadn’t won the second set, the same was definitely true for the third, where he led twice by halftime only for Sinner to produce near-miracles with his back to the wall.
After breaking his opponent by serving 6-5, Sinner won seven straight points to take the tiebreak.
As the clock ticked down to 2am, it was now Sinner on the rise and he led twice for a break in the fourth set.
But this time it was Alcaraz stealing a set, saving a match point at 5-4 and winning the final four games to force a decision. There Sinner returned to attack first, but Alcaraz increased the pressure and took the victory with an ace.