Carlos Alcaraz booked a US Open semifinal spot with an epic five-set win over Italian rival Jannik Sinner – producing a dazzling shot along the way which saw the Spanish teenager hailed as “an alien” for his prodigious talent.
Alcaraz, 19, marched on in New York with a late-night victory over the 21-year-old Sinner at Arthur Ashe Stadium, progressing to the last four of a Grand Slam for the first time in his career.
The Spanish third seed came out on top in a marathon contest spanning five hours and 15 minutes, prevailing 6-3, 6-7, 6-7, 7-5, 6-3 after saving a match point in the fourth set.
The contest ended at 2:50am in New York on Thursday morning, making it the latest finish in tournament history.
One passage of play in the second set in particular captured the imagination of tennis fans and was instantly dubbed the shot of the tournament.
Appearing to have overrun a forehand from Sinner, Alcaraz improvised brilliantly by flicking off a behind-the-back return, then recovering to fire a cross-court winner.
“Oh, come on, are you kidding!” exclaimed the commentary team as the crowd gasped.
One South American tennis Twitter account gushed that Alcaraz was “not from this planet.”
The Spanish phenom will face Frances Tiafoe in the semifinal in New York, after the American home hero saw off Russian ninth seed Andrey Rublev in straight sets in their last-eight meeting on Wednesday.
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A maiden Grand Slam title for Alcaraz would guarantee he rises to number one in the ATP world rankings, although he could also achieve that feat if he reaches the final and Norwegian fifth seed Ruud fails to progress from his semifinal against Russia’s Karen Khachanov at Flushing Meadows.
If Alcaraz climbs to the ATP summit, he will become the youngest player to hold the top spot in the history of the rankings (since 1973).
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