US Open 2022: Carlos Alcaraz becomes youngest since 1990 to reach semifinals with victory over Jannik Sinner

Carlos Alcaraz survived a five-hour battle against Jannik Sinner to advance to the US Open semifinals, becoming the youngest player since Pete Sampras won the title in 1990. As a result, Alcaraz is likely to set a new, career-high ATP get ranking next week.

Alcaraz and Sinner, aged 19 and 21 respectively, competed until 2:50 a.m. ET, marking the final finish in US Open history after a five-hour, 15-minute marathon that began Wednesday night. Their match became an instant classic and was an exciting preview of the future of tennis. Spanish star Alcaraz lay on the floor for a few seconds, covering his face in disbelief after hitting the 6-3, 6-7 (7-9), 6-7 (0-7), 7-5, 6-3 victory, which took him to the first major semifinal of his career.

“It felt great, but I was probably at my end at the end of the game,” Alcaraz said during his post-match press conference. “It was really tough for me, but the whole match – five hours and 15 minutes – I felt good physically. Of course the level of tennis we played was really high.”

While winning, Alcaraz also gave fans what will likely be one of the highlights of the tournament. In the second set, Sinner led 5-4 and sent the ball down the center of the field as Alcaraz ran from the left. He didn’t have enough time to fully adapt, so Alcaraz opted for a great shot from behind. Sinner hit the ball back to him, but Alcaraz kept his focus after the trick shot and went on to win the run.

Sinner had a few chances to win the match, but Alcaraz showed his resilience. Italian star Sinner served at 5-4 for the win in the fourth set, but Alcaraz saved the match point and forced a fifth set. During the decider Sinner also took the lead through a break, but Alcaraz did not doubt himself for a moment.

“I always say that you should always believe in yourself,” Alcaraz said in his court interview. “Hope is the last thing you lose. … I have to stay in the game, try to keep calm, but it’s hard to stay calm at that moment.”

Although Rafael Nadal is still Spain’s most recognizable tennis star, Alcaraz is making a name for himself. In May he has became the youngest player ever to participate in a Madrid Open final. He achieved that by beating Nadal and Novak Djokovic, which no player had ever done in back-to-back matches in the same clay court tournament.

Alcaraz is currently at number 4 in the ATP ranking, the highest ranking of his career. He has a chance to take the No. 1 spot next Monday, but he must make the title match. Casper Ruud also has a chance at the top ranking if he comes through the semi-finals. They are on opposite sides of the bracket, so if both make it, the winner of the US Open will be number 1.

If neither make it to the final, Nadal – who was? upset by Frances Tiafoe in the fourth round — moves from No. 3 to No. 1. Daniil Medvedev is the current No. 1, but the US Open defending champion lost to Nick Kyrgios in the Round of 16 and will therefore not be able to keep his spot.

But before he gets too excited about the potential top spot, Alcaraz must first get through Tiafoe, a man who is also making history with his US Open run. Tiafoe is the first American to reach the semifinals since 2006, as well as the first African-American man to make the semifinals of the US Open since Arthur Ashe in 1972.

“It will be very, very hard to beat Frances. Everyone knows Frances’ level. He beat Rafa Nadal and Rublev in three sets,” said Alcaraz. “He’s playing incredible at the moment, a lot of confidence. He loves the crowd, he loves this field. I’ll have to do my best.”

The match between Alcaraz and Tiafoe is scheduled for Friday. Click here for everything you need to know about the 2022 US Open, including scores, schedules and how to watch.