Carlos Alcaraz saved a match point in the fourth set before digging deep in the decider to beat Jannik Sinner in a five-set thriller and reach the U.S. Open semi-finals in the early hours of Thursday in New York.
The Spanish teenager collapsed on his back after the match lasting more than five hours concluded at 2:50 a.m., beating the previous record for the latest finish of 2:26 a.m. set in three matches in 1993, 2012 and 2014.
The 6-3 6-7(7) 6-7(0) 7-5 6-3 win keeps alive Alcaraz’s hopes of winning a maiden Grand Slam title and claiming the world number one ranking.
Alcaraz put his finger to his ear in the fifth set after he raced across court to catch up with a Sinner drop shot and fired it past the Italian to set up break point, bringing fans at Arthur Ashe Stadium to their feet.
Alcaraz converted on the next point when Sinner’s shot hit the net for a 5-3 lead and then fired a serve into Sinner’s body on match point to end the five hour, 15 minutes contest.
Alcaraz was a human highlight reel all night, sliding and diving around the court and hitting a sensational behind-the-back circus shot that set up a forehand winner in the second set.
If the match was a preview of the future of men’s tennis, the sport is in good hands with the 21-year-old Sinner and 19-year-old Alcaraz engaging in one thrilling exchange after another to the delight of the fans.
Alcaraz plays American Frances Tiafoe on Friday for a spot in Sunday’s final.
Swiatek stops Pegula to reach semis
World number one Iga Swiatek overcame a shaky serving performance to beat American Jessica Pegula 6-3 7-6(4) on Wednesday and reach the semi-finals of the U.S. Open for the first time.
The top-seeded French Open champion dropped her racket and pumped her fist after the win, which guaranteed that she will remain the world’s top player when the tournament ends.
Despite the victory the Pole is still trying to regain her dominant form from earlier in the year when she went on a 37-match winning streak.
The 21-year-old twice failed to serve out the match in the second set and was broken six times by the eighth-seeded Pegula, who saw her own serve broken seven times.
Swiatek will meet Aryna Sabalenka in the semi-finals. She holds a 3-1 record against the powerful Belarusian. Pegula’s defeat ended any hope of an American woman winning the tournament in New York, with 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams expected to head into retirement after her third-round loss last week.