Alcaraz squeezes past Sinner in record-breaking US Open thriller

Jonathan Davies in US Open 08 Sep 2022
Alcaraz prevailed in a five-hour thriller on Ashe (John Angelillo/UPI Credit: UPI/Alamy Live News)

Carlos Alcaraz reached his first Grand Slam semi-final after edging out Jannik Sinner in a record-breaking US Open contest that lasted over five hours.

Two of tennis’ brightest young talents served up a thriller that concluded at 2.50am EST – the latest-ever finish recorded at Flushing Meadows – with Alcaraz eventually prevailing 6-3, 6-7(7), 6-7(0), 7-5, 6-3.

At five hours and 15 minutes, the epic was also the second-longest match played in New York; just 11 minutes shy of Stefan Edberg’s clash with Michael Chang 30 years ago.

Breaking new ground, 19-year-old Alcaraz became the youngest major semi-finalist since compatriot Rafael Nadal at the 2005 French Open, and youngest at this event since Pete Sampras in 1990.

The Spaniard had lost his previous two meetings with Sinner – going down in the Umag final and Wimbledon fourth round – but broke his opponent three times on the way to drawing first blood.

The youngest player to reach the quarter-finals at all four Slams, Sinner responded by saving five sets points in the second before levelling, while overturning a 4-2 deficit in the third and dominating the subsequent tie-break.

The Italian served for the match at 5-4 in the fourth set, but Alcaraz dug deep to rescue match point and win the next three games to force a decider.

There, a break in the eighth game proved crucial for the teenager, who then held his serve to complete a remarkable victory.

Next up for him is a showdown with fellow maiden Slam semi-finalist in Frances Tiafoe, after the home favourite defeated Andrey Rublev in straight sets 7-6(4), 7-6(0), 6-4.

Having stunned four-time champion Rafael Nadal in round four, Tiafoe was the youngest American since Andy Roddick in 2006 to reach the last eight at Flushing Meadows.

And the 22nd seed delighted the crowd once more on Ashe; dominating both tie-breaks in the opening two sets, before a crucial break in game seven of the third paved the way to a commanding victory over the three-time quarter-finalist.

Meanwhile, top seed Iga Swiatek remains the only previous major winner across both draws after seeing off Jessica Pegula 6-3, 7-6(4).

The two-time French Open champion, who is the first Polish female of the Open Era to reach the quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows, maintained control during a tight first set.

A seesaw second saw 10 breaks of serve in 12 games, but there was to be no joy for eighth seed Pegula, whose maiden for a maiden Slam semi-final goes on.

Swiatek’s semi-final opponent Aryna Sabalenka will appear in the last four for the second year running after denying 2016 runner-up Karolina Pliskova 6-1, 7-6(4).

The sixth seed rattled through the opening set; breaking her opponent three times during a dominant display, before a much closer second unfolded and subsequently culminated in a tie-break.

Sabalenka, who recovered from 6-2, 5-1 down against Kaia Kanepi in the second round, rose to the occasion when it mattered most; winning five of the final seven points to prevail.

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US Open 2022 Day 10 Results

Wednesday September 7

Quarter-Finals

Arthur Ashe Stadium
Karolina Pliskova (22) 1-6, 6-7(4) Aryna Sabalenka (6)
Andrey Rublev (9) 6-7(3) 6-7(0) 4-6 Frances Tiafoe (22)
Iga Swiatek (1) 6-3, 7-6(4) Jessica Pegula (8)
Jannik Sinner (11) 3-6, 7-6(7), 7-6(0), 5-7, 3-6 Carlos Alcaraz (3)

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