(Update 1: changes head, adds the Naomi Osaka-Leylah Fernandez match)
New York, US, Sep 3 (EFE).- Canadian teenager and world No. 73 Leylah Fernandez pulled off the biggest upset so far in the women’s singles at the US Open by beating defending champion, Japan’s Naomi Osaka, 5-7, 7-6 (2), 6-4 during the third round on Friday.
Fernandez, who will turn 19 on Monday, upset the world No. 3 at Arthur Ashe Stadium to advance to the fourth round of a grand slam for the first time.
The two-time US Open champion began the match strongly, not dropping her serve in the first set, and with the score tied at 5-5, Osaka took the next nine points to seal the first set 7-5.
In the second set, the two held their serves until the 10th game, when Osaka broke Fernandez but failed to close the set. Fernandez fought back to send the set into a tie break, which she won to force a third. She immediately broke Osaka to take a 2-0 lead and the pressure began to mount on the Japanese during her opponent’s service games.
The Canadian then served for the match with the score at 5-4, winning the game at love to pull off the biggest win of her career.
Fernandez will meet another former US Open champion, Germany’s Angelique Kerber, in the 4th round.
In another major upset, this time in the men’s singles, Spanish 18-year-old prodigy Carlos Alcaraz battled past third-ranked Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7-2), 0-6, 7-6 (7-5).
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.
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.
He 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.