An 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz has been one of the best stories of this year’s US Open, reaching the quarter-final on his New York debut. Alcaraz is the youngest US Open quarter-finalist in the Open era, playing on a high level and beating world no. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas in stunning five sets in the third round. Praising the younger opponent, Stefanos said he never saw anyone hitting that hard, ripping almost every ball and staying aggressive at any cost. Stefanos bageled Carlos in the fourth before the Spaniard started all over in the decider to prevail in the tie break and write history books. Carlos beat Stefanos 6-3, 4-6, 7-6, 0-6, 7-6 after four hours and seven minutes, overpowering a much more experienced rival in the decider to reach the last 16. Alcaraz was a more aggressive player, going for shots and not stepping back despite trailing in the third set and experiencing a bagel in the fourth.
Stefanos Tsitsipas praised Carlos Alcaraz after their US Open clash.
The youngster made a great start and raced into a 4-0 lead. Carlos claimed the opener with three breaks and moved 3-0 in front in the second before the Greek bounced back with five straight games. In the tenth game, Stefanos fended off three break chances to wrap up the set and forged a 5-2 advantage in the third. Eager to leave everything on the court, Alcaraz pulled two breaks back and stole the tie break to move a set away from a notable victory. Stefanos was the only player on the court in the fourth set, earning a bagel but not repeating that in the fifth, as the youngster found his strokes again. Holding his nerves, an 18-year-old gained three match points in the tie break and converted the third with a forehand winner at 6-5 to earn a career-best victory.
“Carlos can be a Major contender; he has the game to be there. His ball speed is incredible; I have never seen someone hit the ball so hard, and it takes time to adjust. It took me time to develop my game around his style. It’s one of these matches where you pick up your level at some point and feel you are in control, but it does not end your way. It’s bitter to experience a loss after such an incredible fourth set when I dominated and played aggressive tennis. Carlos played the fifth set as he did in the first, going for every shot and not thinking much about the outcome. To be honest, I have never seen someone playing at that level in the deciding set. Carlos is young; he fought and never gave up. I had my chances in the third set and wasted them. If I won that third set, I do not know if the psychology and attitude would be the same. You saw what happened in the fourth; I was flying. I did not expect him to raise his level so much, especially after losing the fourth set that way. He was a completely different player in the decider,” Stefanos Tsitsipas said.