Spanish teen sensation Carlos Alcaraz stuns Tsitsipas in US Open 3rd round

New York, Sep 3 (EFE).- Spanish teen prodigy Carlos Alcaraz showed here Friday that his game is more than ready for the prime time, battling past third-ranked Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7-2), 0-6, 7-6 (7-5) in third-round action at the US Open.

In what was the biggest upset thus far at this Grand Slam event in either the men’s or women’s draws, the 18-year-old from the small southeastern town of El Palmar showed a liking for the bright lights of the Big Apple and a knack for rising to the occasion against a much more experienced opponent.

The 23-year-old Tsitsipas tried to ease his way into the contest at the outset and quickly paid the price, with the 55th-ranked Alcaraz showing major firepower off both forehand and backhand en route to grabbing two early service breaks and a 4-0 lead.

The Spaniard finished off that set after grabbing a third service break and then stunned his opponent and the tennis world by breaking serve yet again and taking a 3-0 lead in the second set.

Tsitsipas had tried to change the height of his shots and use his athleticism and defensive skills at the start of the second set, but he finally realized there was only one viable strategy – to start unleashing his own array of weapons.

Stepping up his aggression with his potent forehand and one-handed backhand while continuing to rain down big first serves, the Greek star stormed back to take the second set, although he had to rally from 0-40 to hold serve at 5-4.

He then appeared to have the match completely under control when he seized a 5-2 lead with two service breaks in hand in the third set.

But he was unable to come up with big serves when he needed them and ended up squandering both of those service breaks, giving Alcaraz the opening he needed to even the match at 5-5, hold serve in a 16-point 11th game after staving off two break points and then steal the set with some brilliant play in the tiebreaker.

The fourth set got away from the Spaniard quickly, but he locked horns with Tsitsipas once again at the start of the fifth set, saving a crucial break point in the sixth game and then forcing one final tiebreaker.

Alcaraz seemed to relish the moment in that final decider, showcasing all of his firepower from the baseline to grab a 6-3 lead with two chances to serve for the match.

Although he squandered both of those opportunities, including sending a potential lob winner just over the baseline on the second one, Alcaraz clinched the biggest victory of his young career when he put Tsitsipas on the defensive and clobbered one last forehand winner on his third match point.

“This victory means a lot to me,” Alcaraz, who struck 61 winners to Tsitipas’ 47, said afterward. “It is the best match of my career. Beating Stefanos Tsitsipas is a dream come true.”

With the win, Alcaraz has become the youngest men’s player to reach the fourth round of the US Open since 1989 (when Michael Chang and Pete Sampras achieved that feat at ages 17 and 18, respectively).

Next up for the Spanish rising star will be Germany’s Peter Gojowczyk, who defeated Switzerland’s Henri Laaksonen 3-6, 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 on Friday.

In other men’s action, Russian world No. 2 Daniil Medvedev continued to cruise through the draw, routing Spain’s Pablo Andujar 6-0, 6-4, 6-3.

In women’s singles, ninth-seeded Spaniard Garbiñe Muguruza won a battle of Grand Slam champions by defeating 18th-seeded Belarusian Victoria Azarenka 6-4, 3-6, 6-2. EFE


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