Alcaraz Books Maiden Slam Quarter-Final In Five-Set Triumph
#NextGenATP Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz has become the youngest US Open quarter-finalist in the Open Era after ending the run of qualifier Peter Gojowczyk in five sets at Flushing Meadows on Sunday night.
Two days after he stunned Stefanos Tsitsipas to become the youngest man to defeat a Top 3 player at the US Open, the 18-year-old secured back-to-back five-set victories for the first time in his career to advance 5-7, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2, 6-0. The Spaniard finished with 35 winners – five more than his opponent – and his 45 unforced errors were 39 fewer than the German’s.
“I'm super excited to be in my first second week in the Grand Slam, so it's amazing for me. It's a dream come true,” Alcaraz said. “It's really tough to play these kind of matches, to play fifth sets… I hope to play more second weeks, to play more quarter-finals of Grand Slams. I didn't expect to play quarter-finals here. So I think it's a really good performance from me in these matches.”
US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 6, 2021
The teenager served for the opening set at 5-4 only to be broken and a brief delay due to mist did nothing to slow the German’s momentum. He reeled off three straight games and took the opening set on the seventh break.
There was no threat of a letdown from Alcaraz at having let the first set slip from his grasp as he broke immediately to set the tone for the second set. When a double fault from the German surrendered the double break, Alcaraz sensed his opportunity and put the foot down as he sealed the set after just 31 minutes.
“The first set was really, really tough,” Alcaraz said. “I think that I was two breaks up in the first set, and end the set losing, but I started the second set with more power than the first set… It's a really good performance in the second set for me.”
Gojowczyk, who reached a career-best of No. 39 in the FedEx ATP Rankings three years ago, was not about to go quietly. While he failed to serve it out the third set on his first chance, he made good on his next opportunity to serve it out after 56 minutes.
Both players had treatment on their left legs deep in the fourth set and after Alcaraz secured a hard-fought hold for 4-1, Gojowczyk looked to be struggling most. A fifth set was ensured when the Spaniard picked off consecutive backhand winners to break at the three-hour mark and he was in total control as the deciding set wore on.
🔥 CARLOS ALCARAZ 🔥 pic.twitter.com/LI851kR5Al— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 6, 2021
After three rounds of qualifying and two of his three main draw matches had gone five sets, Gojowczyk was attempting to finish points quicker to conserve energy but momentum had firmly swung to his younger opponent. A double fault from the German gave up the double break in the deciding set and Alcaraz closed to within a game of victory on a sliding sliced crosscourt backhand winner.
His passage to a maiden Grand Slam quarter-final was sealed at the three-hour, 26-minute mark. He will next face 12th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime, following the Canadian's victory over American Frances Tiafoe.
“In the first sets I thought that I reached my limit, physically and mentally. I think the crowd was really, really important for me in this situation,” Alcaraz said. “I felt the energy of the crowd pushing me up. I think without the crowd, it couldn't be possible to be here.”