Carlos Alcaraz broke new ground in the early hours of Thursday morning when he edged Jannik Sinner in a five-set thriller to reach his first Grand Slam semi-final. Under the lights on Arthur Ashe Stadium, the Spaniard saved one match point en route to a historic victory.
“I feel great to be in my first semi-final in a Grand Slam,” Alcaraz said in his post-match press conference. “I feel better reaching semi-final here [at the] US Open. This tournament is amazing. The crowd is amazing, I would say the best in the world.”
In an epic clash between two former Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals champions that finished at 2:50 a.m. local time, it was the 19-year-old Alcaraz who prevailed after five hours and 15 minutes. The match broke the record for the latest finish in tournament history and was the second-longest clash in US Open history.
“Probably at the end of the match, I was [at] my end. It was really, really tough for me,” Alcaraz said. “[But], during the whole match, five hours, 15 minutes of the match, I felt great physically. The level of tennis that we played, it was really, really high. But I felt great.
“The energy I received in this court at 3 a.m., it was unbelievable,” Alcaraz later added. “I mean, probably in other tournaments, everybody [would go] to their house to rest. But they [stayed] in the court, supporting me. It was unbelievable.”
Alcaraz, who with the win qualified for the Nitto ATP Finals for the first time, has now improved to 49-9 on the season. The two-time ATP Masters 1000 titlist will next play Frances Tiafoe on Friday. The American downed Andrey Rublev to become the first American man to reach the semi-finals since 2006, when Andy Roddick advanced to the championship match.
“It’s going to be really, really tough,” Alcaraz said when looking ahead to the match. “Everybody knows the level of Frances. He has beaten Rafa Nadal and Rublev. He’s playing unbelievably right now. High confidence. He loves the crowd. He loves this court. I’m going to have to play my best.”
Did You Know?
Alcaraz has the opportunity to become the youngest World No. 1 in the history of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings next Monday. The 19-year-old can achieve the feat by lifting his first major trophy or if he reaches the final and Casper Ruud does not.