Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz played the second longest game in US Open history with five hours and 15 minutes in a legendary five-set duel that ultimately was won 6-3, 6-7 (7-9), 6 -7 (0 -7), 7-5 and 6-3 in Alcaraz, Thursday night at Arthur-Ashe Stadium.
The two rising stars have written a historic first chapter of a rivalry that will undoubtedly grow in the coming years, both in terms of spectacular shots and twists.
“I don’t know how I did it, the level of play, the level of the game was …”, confided Alcaraz who had no words after a long and respectful hug with Sinner.
On a match point in the fourth set, “I believed in myself. There is always hope until we have lost. I believed in my game, “he added.
Alcaraz seemed to have good control after a convincing first set and with the momentum towards the end of the second set. The just 19-year-old athlete offered himself four set points to serve his rival at 6-5, but the Italian saved his life every time to finish with the set in the tiebreak at 9-7, not without seeing the offer of Alcaraz themselves a fifth opportunity to wrap up a few moves earlier.
An almost identical scenario presented itself in the third set when Alcaraz served for the set at 6-5. Once again, the 21-year-old Italian got out of trouble by crushing his rival before passing the tiebreaker for an easy 7-0 putting all the pressure on the Spaniard.
Sinner wasted no time in the next set to gain the upper hand with a serve break in the first game, but Alcaraz regained his due on the third of 13 serve.And world racket breaking it himself to make it 3-3. Sinner then rushed to cancel Alcaraz’s comeback by winning the next four points to regain his advantage. The Italian appeared to be headed for a semi-final ticket, but Alcaraz turned the tide with his back to the wall. The Spaniard sensational refused to give up the match point at 5-4 to break his opponent’s serve and bring everyone to 5-5 before converting his serve game again to force the final set.
Sinner was the first to break in the fifth set to take a 3-2 lead, but unsurprisingly at this stage of a Hollywood-style match, Alcaraz scored his ninth break of the match to stay 3-3 in the match. next one. Alcaraz gave themselves a golden opportunity to end the match in service by beating their rival for the tenth time in the match. This time around it was good for anyone who could become the youngest player in history to keep number 1 on the world rankings if they win the tournament. Alcaraz finished this legendary match with an ace in front of an over-excited crowd who lived through the 313 minutes of this epic duel with intensity.
Incredibly, both players only had one chance to finish the match respectively. Sinner had their match point chance only in the fourth set when Alcaraz converted their only chance in the final set. Alcaraz ended the match with 10 breaks in service in 25 opportunities against seven breaks in 16 attempts for Sinner.
This is the first time Alcaraz has reached the semi-finals of a Grand Slam tournament. Sinner was also looking to reach a first semi-final in such a tournament, having previously reached the quarter-finals in each of the major tournaments. Alcaraz will face local favorite Frances Tiafoe.
“Frances has beaten Rafa and Rublev, he is very confident, it will be really tough. But I want to take advantage of this moment, of my first qualification in the first half, ”commented the Spaniard.
The longest duel in US Open history lasted five hours and 26 minutes between Stefan Edberg and Michael Chang in the 1992 semifinals. No game ended after 2:26 in Flushing Meadows. Sinner-Alcaraz finally ended the longest New York game in history with 2:50.