New York, Sep 4 (EFE).- Defending champion Carlos Alcaraz made the quarterfinals of the United States Open on Monday to set up a clash with Alexander Zverev, while Aryna Sabalenka breezed past her opponent to continue her bid for a second Grand Slam.
World No. 1 Alcaraz beat No. 61 seed Matteo Arnaldi 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 57 minutes. and continues to take giant steps in tennis aged only 20, having played in three editions of the US Open and reaching the last eight in all of them.
Until Monday, only Andre Agassi (from 1988 to 1990) had reached the quarterfinals of this Grand Slam three times in the Open Era before turning 21. No tennis player had qualified for the quarterfinals of the US Open in their first three appearances at Flushing Meadows since Johan Kriek (1978-1980.)
The Spaniard has only lost one set in four matches so far this tournament and continues breaking down barriers. During his on-court post-match interview he spoke of “the intensity from the beginning and until the last ball.”
“I played a really solid game, with fewer mistakes, playing my game, trying to go to the net (…). I’m very happy with my performance,” he said.
Three more matches separate him from retaining his title in New York and becoming the first tennis player to do so since Roger Federer won five consecutive US Opens from 2004 to 2008.
In the night’s other match, Germany’s Zverev overcame last year’s quarterfinalist Yannick Sinner in a five-set marathon in four hours and 41 minutes, winning 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 to set up an encounter with Alcaraz in the next round.
The No. 12 seed dealt with physical problems, exhaustion, cramps and clear signs of fatigue to beat his Italian opponent. Zverev also faced an unsavory moment when a spectator began shouting Nazi chants during the match, before being escorted by security.
A video on social media captures the moment someone shouts “Deutschland über alles” (“Germany above all”) from the stands just before Zverev is about to serve, a lyric that featured in Nazi Germany’s version of the country’s national anthem.
“My longest match here… I guess I can say I’m back,” Zverev said ironically during his on-court interview, a reference to his notoriously lengthy Grand Slam matches in the past.
In the women’s draw, Belarus’ Sabalenka, who will become the world No. 1 at the end of the tournament, qualified for the quarterfinals by beating Russia’s Daria Kasatkina.
The No. 2 seed defeated Kasatkina 6-1, 6-4 in one hour and 15 minutes, becoming the first tennis player since Serena Williams in 2016 to reach the quarterfinals of all the Grand Slams in one year.
She’ll now face Chinese Qinwen Zheng, who emphatically eliminated last year’s finalist Ons Jabeur 6-2, 6-4 in one hour and 22 minutes.
Sabalenka, who won the Australian Open in January, secured the No. 1 spot Sunday after defending champion Iga Swiatek’s shock defeat to Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko in the round of 16.
Swiatek, who won Roland Garros this year, had topped the women’s ranking since April 2022.
“It means a lot to me (…). It’s incredible, it’s crazy. I still can’t believe it,” Sabalenka said after finishing her match and being asked about her ascent in the rankings. EFE