Alcaraz Records Biggest Career Win, Shocks Tsitsipas In US Open Thriller
#NextGenATP Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz captured the biggest win of his career Friday at the US Open as he upset World No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(2), 0-6, 7-6(5) in a high-quality match to become the youngest player to reach the fourth round at a major since 1992.
The 18-year-old rallied from 2-5 in the third set, saving three sets points and breaking twice to avoid going down two sets to one, before advancing in four hours and six minutes. The World No. 55 is the youngest player to beat a Top-3 opponent at a major since Michael Chang, 17, defeated World No. 1 Ivan Lendl and World No. 3 Stefan Edberg at Roland Garros in 1989.
“I think without this crowd I would not have the possibility to win this match,” Alcaraz said in his on-court interview. “I was down at the start of the fourth set, so thank you to the crowd for pushing me through. It is an incredible feeling for me.”
Alcaraz, whose previous biggest victory came against then World No. 14 David Goffin at the Great Ocean Road Open in February, will next play qualifier Peter Gojowczyk after the German defeated Swede Henri Laaksonen 3-6, 6-3, 6-1, 6-4.
Juan Carlos Ferrero’s charge is the youngest player to reach the fourth round at a major since Andrei Medvedev, 17, at Roland Garros in 1992 and the youngest in New York since Chang, 17, in 1989. The Spaniard now holds a 2-0 record in fifth-set matches.
“This victory means a lot to me," Alcaraz added. "It is the best match of my career. Beating Stefanos Tsitsipas is a dream come true.”
Alcaraz captured his maiden tour-level title in Umag and reached the last four in Winston-Salem. The Marbella semi-finalist began the US Open in fourth in the ATP Race To Milan as he aims to qualify Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals, which will be held in Milan from 9-13 November.
In a high-quality first set, Alcaraz did not play like an 18-year-old making his debut on the Arthur Ashe Stadium as he stepped inside the baseline and showed impressive footwork and confidence to dictate on his forehand. The Spaniard struck nine winners and committed just two unforced errors in the first set to move ahead.
Fuelled by momentum, Alcaraz raced into a 3-0 lead. However, Tsitsipas grew into the match and started to find his rhythm on his groundstrokes, hitting with greater depth to force the World No. 55 into errors as he won five straight games before levelling.
From a double break up at 5-2 in the third set, Tsitsipas was in control. However, he was unable to convert three sets points when serving for the set in the eighth game and was then broken again as Alcaraz drew level at 5-5. Backed by a vocal New York crowd, Alcaraz then raised his level in the tie-break, sealing the set with one of the 60 winners he hit in the match.
Tsitsipas quickly regained his focus though, winning 91 per cent (10/11) of his first-serve points in the fourth set to capture it in 27 minutes
After a tense fifth set that featured just one break point opportunity for Tsitsipas, a raucous Arthur Ashe crowd was fully behind Alcaraz come the tie-break. The Spaniard edged to a 6/3 lead and at 6/4 lured the Greek to the net with a drop shot and looked to have won the match with a forehand topspin lob to the ad court, but it fell just 9mm long.
At 6/5, on the ninth shot of the point, Tsitsipas inexplicably threw up a floating slice backhand, which Alcaraz readily dismissed with an inside-out forehand for a clean winner to the ad court to claim victory. Overcome by the moment, the teen fell on his back and soaked in the deafening roar of the crowd.
Tsitsipas was aiming to reach the fourth round at the US Open for the first time in his fourth appearance in New York. The Greek, who battled past Andy Murray in five sets in his opening-round victory, reached the semi-finals on hard in Toronto and Cincinnati.Earlier this year, the 23-year-old captured his first ATP Masters 1000 title in Monte-Carlo and reached his major maiden final at Roland Garros.