New York: Carlos Alcaraz of Spain pulled off the biggest upset of this year’s U.S. Open, riding his devastating backhand and sheer nerve to a stunning third-round victory over No. 3 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece yesterday.
Alcaraz, 18, dipped physically and emotionally in the fourth set but became alive in the fifth set to complete a 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (2), 0-6, 7-6 (5) win before an adoring crowd at Arthur Ashe Stadium. Alcaraz, considered an up-and-coming player, arrived in style by showing remarkable poise on one of the sport’s biggest stages.
“I think without the crowd I haven’t the possibility to win the match,” he said during an on-court interview. “I was down at the beginning of the fourth set so thank you to you, the crowd, to pushing me up in the fifth set. It’s an incredible feeling for me.”
Dream come true
Alcaraz is the youngest male player to reach the fourth round of the U.S. Open since 17-year-old Michael Chang and 18-year-old Pete Sampras did so in 1989.
“This is a dream come true for me,” said Alcaraz, who received treatment from a trainer after the fourth set for what appeared to be muscle tightness in his right thigh or leg. “For sure, here is more special for me.”
Alcaraz was the crowd favorite from the start. Tsitsipas, 23, has drawn scorn from fans and fellow players for taking prolonged bathroom breaks during the Open and at previous tournaments, but he took a break on Friday that was of reasonable length, about three minutes. However, he did receive warnings for a time violation and a coaching violation.