'This is crazy': Tennis world in meltdown over 'insane' scenes

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Pictured here, Carlos Alcaraz wins an amazing point at the Next Gen Finals in Italy.
An extraordinary point from Carlos Alcaraz at the Next Gen Finals left tennis fans in a frenzy. Pic: Tennis TV/Getty

Spanish teen sensation Carlos Alcaraz is the talk of the tennis world after an extraordinary point some fans are describing as the best of the year.

The 18-year-old tournament favourite booked his place in the final four of the Next Gen Finals with a 4-3 (7-4) 4-1 4-3 (7-4) win over American Brandon Nakashima.

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The annual event is staged for the world's best players aged 21 and under, with Alcaraz justifying the hype around his unquestionable talent.

Alcaraz is living up to his billing as top seed and has not dropped a set in his two Group A matches at the round-robin tournament in Italy.

The Spaniard was taken to two tiebreaks by Nakashima on Wednesday but his powerful serve helped him to storm into the semi-finals with 10 aces.

However, it was one point Alcarez claimed at the net that grabbed most of the headlines.

The 18-year-old showed incredible speed, footwork and defensive ability to somehow keep himself in a rally that Nakashima looked to have won on several occasions.

The American had Alcaraz running all over the court and seemed destined to win the point when a forehand pass hit the net and left the Spaniard stranded with his back to the ball.

Incredibly though, Alcaraz's reaction time was off the charts as he swivelled around and hit a makeshift backhand winner that left his opponent stunned and the tennis world in meltdown.

Carlos Alcaraz continues breakout year

Alcaraz has moved up more than 100 places in the world rankings this season, off the back of a run to the US Open quarter-finals.

"I am really happy with the level I am playing at," the World No.32 said in his on-court interview.

"Playing against a great player like Brandon, you play amazing points like we have played.

"I hope to play the semi-final at this level. The serve is very important on hard court and indoor courts. I am trying to improve the serve for my game."

Seen here, World No.32 Carlos Alcaraz gives a fist pump at the Next Gen Finals in Italy.
World No.32 Carlos Alcaraz is the favourite to take out the Next Gen Finals in Italy. Pic: Getty

Nakashima, who beat Francisco Cerundolo in their opener, will face Denmark's Holger Rune on Thursday for the other semi-final place from Group A.

Rune earlier kept his hopes alive by beating Cerundolo of Argentina 4-1 4-2 1-4 4-1.

Another American, Sebastian Korda, is on the cusp of progressing after beating Argentine Sebastian Baez 4-3 (7-3) 4-2 4-2 in 75 minutes to move to 2-0 in Group B.

He would have secured his place in the semis had Frenchman Hugo Gaston, who Korda beat on Tuesday, defeated home favourite Lorenzo Musetti.

But Musetti survived a scare to win 4-3 (7-4) 4-3 (8-6) 2-4 3-4 (9-7) 4-2.

Gaston had saved two match points in a contest that lasted more than two and a half hours.

It is the fourth edition of the annual tournament to crown the game's best young player in Milan. It was cancelled last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

There are different rules at the Next Gen Finals, including on-court coaching, no-Ad scoring, medical timeout limits, and Hawk-Eye making all the line calls.

The most drastic change is the shorter set, where the first to four games takes the set, with a tiebreak at 3-3.

with AAP

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