Carlos Alcaraz defeated Jannik Sinner in an epic 5-hour and 15-minute match 6-3, 6-7 (7-9), 6-7 (0-7), 7-5, 6-3 to enter US Open semifinals for the first time in his career. A match that saw both the players save multiple match and set points will go down as one of the greatest matches ever.
First and an epic second set
There were already talks before the match about how it could turn into a long, late-night classic. It was proved to be true when Carlos Alcaraz finally broke Sinner in the first set for the first time in their last 3 meetings. The superb set featured aggressive shots from the players which went Alcaraz’s way when he closed the set for a lead of 6-3.
Jannik Sinner made a comeback in the 2nd set which featured some of the best tennis of this US Open. In the 12th game of the set, Carlos Alcaraz hit an astonishing behind-the-back shot in the run-up as fans rose to their feet to cheer and applaud some of the most extreme tennis they will ever see. It was followed by a superb backhand winner from Sinner to win the tiebreak and level the match.
Third and the fourth set
The 3rd set was where the energy dipped from both the players. It was understandable after 2 gruesome sets of tennis. Jannik Sinner was broken by Carlos Alcaraz for a lead of 6-5 but Sinner engaged Alcaraz in a long deuce game to deny him closing the set. It shifted the momentum back to Sinner, who looked more energized as he ran away with the tiebreaker where Alcaraz could not secure a point.
Sinner took the energy and the momentum to the 4th set as he went up after breaking Alcaraz and served for the set and match at 5-4. Alcaraz denied Sinner taking away the match as he broke to level and win the set 7-5 and sent the match to a decider at 2:01 local time.
The decider (fifth set)
Jannik Sinner found another opportunity when he broke Alcaraz at love for 3-2 in the 5th. It was at this point it looked done for the night but Alcaraz gathered his last bits of energy to deny Sinner another game as he won 4 consecutive games to close the set 6-3 and enter his maiden US Open semifinal.
The match also broke the record for the most latest finish in tournament history, ending at 2:50 am local time. The match was also the second longest in tournament history, only behind the 1992 semifinal between Stefan Edberg and Michael Chang, which lasted five hours and 26 minutes.
Carlos Alcaraz 19, became the youngest US Open semifinalist since Pete Sampras in 1990. The world of tennis is already head over heels for his rivalry with Jannik Sinner (21) and it is no doubt that the future of tennis is in great hands.
Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner shared a warm hug after the match and the former celebrated wildly with the fans who stayed late for the classic, giving away trainers to some of them.
The match was such a hit, it made waves around the tennis world. Coco Gauff, Stan Wawrinka, and Feliciano López among others lauded the match as it played out.
Reactions from Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner after the match
“Honestly, I still don’t know how I did it,” said Alcaraz, who signed autographs for fans despite the late hour and tossed his sneakers into the crowd. “You have to believe in yourself. I believed in my game.
“It was really difficult to close out the match. I tried to stay calm, but it is difficult in the moment. I am going to enjoy [achieving] my first semi-final of a Grand Slam and tomorrow will be the time to think about the match [with Tiafoe],” Alcaraz said.
Carlos Alcaraz will face Frances Tiafoe for a place in the US Open finals which will be played on Sunday.
“It’s not easy to talk now because I finished the match not so long ago. But it was a good match from my side, from his side. Could finish in three sets, could finish in four sets, could finish in five sets. The level was high,” Sinner said. “At some point I didn’t serve that well, but he was returning well. It was a good match. Obviously the crowd was good. For me only the second time on Ashe. So it was a good match for sure. But a very, very tough one.”
“I had some tough losses, for sure,” said Sinner. “This is in the top list. I think this one will hurt for quite a while.”