Carlos Alcaraz caught in US Open 'disgrace' after quarter-final epic

·Sports Editor
·5-min read
Carlos Alcaraz, pictured here after his win over Jannik Sinner at the US Open.
Carlos Alcaraz looks on after his win over Jannik Sinner at the US Open. Image: Getty

Tennis fans have bemoaned the US Open's scheduling decision which saw Carlos Alcaraz beat Jannik Sinner in a quarter-final epic that finished just before 3am on Thursday.

Alcaraz, the 19-year-old No.3 seed, won 6-3 6-7 (9-7) 6-7 (7-0) 7-5 6-3 in an incredible battle lasting five hours and 15 minutes.

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The Spanish star finally won the last point at 2.50am on Thursday - the latest finish to a match in US Open history.

"Honestly, I still don't know how I did it," said Alcaraz, who saved a match point in the fourth set before beating his Italian opponent.

Alcaraz, whose five-set victory over 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic ended at 2:23 am on Tuesday, reached his first grand slam semi-final and is the youngest man to get that far in New York since Pete Sampras won the title at age 19 in 1990.

The Spaniard now has a chance to grab the World No.1 ranking next week, but will first have to beat Frances Tiafoe of the United States on Friday.

Tiafoe earlier followed up his victory over Rafael Nadal by beating Andrey Rublev to become the first American man to reach the US Open semi-finals in 16 years.

Tiafoe's clash with Alcaraz shapes as another blockbuster, but the American will have a significant advantage in more rest and recovery time.

Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz, pictured here shaking hands at the net after their match at the US Open.
Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz shake hands at the net after their match at the US Open. (Photo by COREY SIPKIN/AFP via Getty Images)

While Alcaraz was still on court approaching 3am, Tiafoe was able to start his recovery about eight hours earlier after playing in the day session on Wednesday.

With just four matches on the slate on Wednesday, organisers scheduled two in the day session and two at night, with Alcaraz and Sinner not getting on court until Iga Swiatek's win over Jessica Pegula had finished.

The early morning finish meant Arthur Ashe Stadium was only about one quarter full by the end, with the majority of spectators missing out on what has been described as one of the greatest matches ever.

Fans took to social media to bemoan the scheduling, with many suggesting there should have been three day matches and just the one in the night session.

Carlos Alcaraz to battle Frances Tiafoe in semi-final

Alcaraz can become the youngest men's World No.1 of all time should he make the final.

"As long as Rafa, Djokovic, Federer are there, they will be the best and the rivalry they have between them will always come first," he said.

"But Jannik and I have shown that we are the present and we also have long careers ahead of us."

After his much more mundane 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-0) 6-4 victory over Rublev, Tiafoe was asked about Alcaraz and Sinner.

"I just hope they play a marathon match, super-long match," Tiafoe said with a smile, "and they get really tired come Friday."

Frances Tiafoe, pictured here after his win over Andrey Rublev at the US Open.
Frances Tiafoe celebrates after his win over Andrey Rublev at the US Open. (Photo by Cynthia Lum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Not since Andy Roddick in 2006 has a home player reached the last four in the men's singles, and Tiafoe is attempting to become the first home champion since Roddick won his only slam title in 2003.

The 24-year-old pulled off the win of his life against Nadal in the fourth round but this was just as impressive, with Tiafoe keeping his composure while Russian Rublev became increasingly frustrated to claim a 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-0) 6-4 victory.

"This is wild, this is crazy," said Tiafoe. "Biggest win of my life, coming out and getting another big win.

"It's huge growth. It's tough to turn a page but I did and now I'm in the semis.

"I feel so at home on courts like this. I want to play, I want to give my best. Let's enjoy this one but we've got two more guys."

with AAP

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