Carlos Alcaraz stuns tennis world in 'outrageous' US Open scenes

·5-min read
Pictured left, Carlos Alcaraz hits a remarkable half volley in his US Open fourth round match against Marin Cilic.
Carlos Alcaraz left fans gobsmacked with some incredible displays of skill in his US Open fourth round match against Marin Cilic. Pic: US Open/Getty

Carlos Alcaraz has cemented his status as the next big thing in men's tennis with an extraordinary US Open victory over former champion, Marin Cilic.

Alcaraz booked his spot in the quarter-finals after claiming an epic 6-4 3-6 6-4 4-6 6-3 win against Cilic, in gruelling tussle that ended well after 2am in New York.

With Rafa Nadal knocked out in a shock fourth round upset, Alcaraz could claim the World No.1 ranking if he goes all the way at Flushing Meadows.

The Spanish teen came out of the blocks strongly against the 2014 champion, in what was the final match on the Arthur Ashe Stadium centre court on Monday night (Tuesday AEST).

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Alcaraz, 19, showcased his full array of shot-making and incredible athleticism against the Croatian veteran, in a scintillating encounter that had the crowd on the edge of their seats.

One point at 4-2 up in the first set demonstrated the Spaniard's extraordinary court coverage and defensive ability as he somehow managed to stay alive in a brutal baseline rally with Cilic.

Alcaraz was on the stretch on numerous occasions to first return the big-hitting Croat's serve, and then to repel his ferocious groundstrokes.

The 19-year-old eventually wore his opponent down enough to force his way into the net, before clinching the epic point with a stunning diving volley.

Alcaraz proved that he had plenty of other tricks up his sleeve with another sensational effort later in the match, when he somehow managed to fashion a winner from his shoelaces.

The Spaniard came into the net only to be greeted by a vicious Cilic return that landed at his feet.

Remarkably, Alcaraz was able to shift his body to get a racquet on the ball and come up with an unorthodox drop shot that left Cilic stranded.

The two moments of genius from the prodigiously talented teen left the tennis world in awe.

Cilic fought back to claim the second set after his teenage opponent took out the opener 6-4.

Alcaraz edged again in the third stanza to take a two-sets-to-one advantage before turning the screws on his opponent in the eight game, only to see Cilic stave off break points to even it up at 4-4.

Cilic responded with some exquisite baseline hitting to set up three break points of his own, and the Croatian converted on the second time of asking.

The 15th seed then dug deep on his own serve to force the match into a deciding fifth set, as the time approached 2am in New York.

Cilic kept the momentum going by grabbing the crucial opening break in the first game of the decider, only for the Spanish teen to answer straight back to send the crowd into raptures.

The match took another dramatic turn when Alcaraz converted the first of three break points on the giant Croatian's serve, before consolidating his next two serves to jump out to a 5-2 lead.

Serving for the match at 5-3, Alcaraz slumped to his knees after return from Cilic clipped the net to signal an end to a rollercoaster contest.

Frances Tiafoe knocks out Rafa Nadal in huge upset

Alcaraz followed Frances Tiafoe into the quarter-finals at Flushing Meadows after the local hope sprung a huge upset over 22-time grand slam champion, Nadal.

Tiafoe ended Nadal's 22-match winning streak at grand slam tournaments this year, courtesy of a 6-4 4-6 6-4 6-3 triumph in their fourth round clash.

It represents the latest significant step forward for Tiafoe, whose only previous trip to the last eight at a major came at the 2019 Australian Open - and ended with a loss to Nadal.

Seen here, Frances Tiafoe roaring in delight after his fourth round upset win against Rafa Nadal at the US Open.
Frances Tiafoe roars in delight after his fourth round upset win against Rafa Nadal at the US Open. Pic: Getty

"I don't even know what to say right now. I'm beyond happy. I can't believe it," Tiafoe said.

"He's one of the greatest of all time. I played unbelievable tennis today, but I don't even know what happened."

Tiafoe will face ninth seed Andrey Rublev in the last eight after the Russian scored a 6-4 6-4 6-4 victory over seventh-seeded Brit Cameron Norrie.

Eleventh-seeded Jannik Sinner held off feisty Ilya Ivashka ato win 6-1 5-7 6-2 4-6 6-3 to complete his passage to all four Grand Slam quarter-finals this year.

Sinner is set to play the winner of the fourth round match between Alcaraz and Cilic.

with AAP

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