Alcaraz Drops Tsitsipas In US Open Stunner, Rublev Out; Djokovic Resumes Quest
by Staff | September 4th, 2021, 2:21 am
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Carlos Alcaraz came of age Friday at the US Open stunning world No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas in a 5-set thriller on Ashe 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(2), 0-6, 7-6(5).

The 4-hour, 7-minute affair had a bit of everything. The 18-year-old Alcaraz, playing his first US Open, came out onto the biggest tennis court in the world without fear, taking the first set over the Greek.

Alcaraz continued to pound away on his groundstrokes but Tsitsipas started to get a better read on the Spaniard’s serve, breaking him twice in the second.

Tsitsipas would continue his momentum in the third to jump to a seemingly insurmountable 5-2 lead serving 40-15. But thing fell apart for the 23-year-old. Alcaraz clawed back and with the crowd fully rooting for the underdog, somehow stole the third set.

Suddenly down two sets to one, Tsitsipas would take his customary bathroom break and upon returning after only 4 minutes, he got back on track and rolled in the fourth at love.

But after some treatment, Alcaraz returned to form in the fifth and kept hammer ground strokes and mixing in drop shots. In the final set, the two would combine for 31 winners, and just 12 unforced errors as the youngster won one of the best matches of the year.

“I have not words to explain how I feeling right now,” Alcaraz said. “I just don’t know what happened out there in the court. I can’t believe that I beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in an epic match. For me it’s a dream come true.

“When I fall into the court at the end of the match I thought my family and my friends, other people who was supporting me in Murcia. All my team was also supporting me from the academy. I thought every person that was supporting me from Murcia from the beginning of this history when I was a kid and everything. Was amazing.”

Tsitsipas was in awe of the power coming from the teen.

“Great start by his side,” Tsitsipas said. “In the beginning of the first set, came really strong. Ball speed was incredible. I’ve never seen someone hit the ball so hard. Took time to adjust. Took time to kind of develop my game around his game style.

“It’s one of these matches and one of these feelings where, you know, you pick up at some point of the match, you feel like you’re in control, and it doesn’t really go your way at the end. It’s kind of bitter, I would say, especially after such an incredible first set by my side, dominating, being just so aggressive, not dwelling on the past. It was a great first set.

I don’t know. I felt like he played the fifth one completely — the way he played the first set basically, careless, going for every single shot. I have never seen someone play such a good fifth set, honestly.

Meanwhile, Tsitsipas, who has became a new villain in tennis this week, failed yet again to make week 2 at the US Open.

“I’m not pretending that everyone loves me,” Tsitsipas added. “My intentions are not to be loved by everyone. Every person can choose their favorite player, pick a side. I felt that way, but I kind of have ignored it.

“Because people don’t know, that’s the thing. When people are not really in the sport and don’t know what is happening, I mean, all these accusations have been completely false.”

With Tsitsipas out, Daniil Medvedev is now the clear favorite to return to the final. The Russian crushed Pablo Andujar 6-0, 6-4, 6-3.

“Great match. Always great to finish in straight sets,” Medvedev said. “The more matches you can win in straight sets the better.

“First set, yeah, I think Pablo didn’t play his best level. I just took advantage, took the points I needed to take. Second and third set was much tighter, a lot of long rallies. He had breakpoints to come back at 5-All. I’m really happy that I managed to win the match without being at 5-All because that’s the tough score already. Less than two hours. Only positives. Again, happy with my level, happy with everything.”

Dan Evans came from two sets down to stun Alexei Popyrin 4-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(1). Evans will now face Medvedev.

“I’ve got as good a chance as anyone to do some damage. I think my game is in a good place,” Evans said of Medvedev. “Listen, he’s a great, great player, unbelievable competitor, good mover. He’s been playing some unbelievable tennis this year.”

Qualifiers Botic Van de Zandschulp and Peter Gojowzyck also advanced as did Felix Auger Aliassime who hung on in five sets over Roberto Bautista Agut and Diego Schwartzman.

In the nightcap, Frances Tiafoe upset No. 5 seed Andrey Rublev 4-6, 6-3, 7-6(6), 4-6, 6-1 in a match that ended at 2:15am. Rublev served for third set set at 6-5 in the breaker but double faulted and Tiafoe took then next two points.

Tiafoe blew a 4-2 lead in the fourth but rolled in the fifth.

The tournament will see a new Grand Slam semifinalist come next Thursday from the Rublev-Tsitsipas quarter.

On Saturday, Novak Djokovic returns seeking his 24th straight match in a Slam against Kei Nishikori. Djokovic has won his last 16 against the Japanese since Nishikori beat the World No. 1 at the 2014 US Open semifinals.

Alexander Zverev will meet American Jack Sock.

Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini, Reilly Opelka and Jenson Brooksby. Gael Monfils also takes on Jannik Sinner in a good one.

US OPEN SATURDAY SCHEDULE
Petra Kvitova (CZE) [10] vs. Maria Sakkari (GRE) [17]
Not Before 1:30 PM
Novak Djokovic (SRB) [1] vs. Kei Nishikori (JPN)

7:00 PM Start
Ashleigh Barty (AUS) [1] vs. Shelby Rogers (USA)
Alexander Zverev (GER) [4] vs. Jack Sock (USA) (WC)

Louis Armstrong Stadium, Day Session – 11:00 AM Start
Greet Minnen (BEL) (LL) vs. Bianca Andreescu (CAN) [6]
Not Before 12:30 PM
Belinda Bencic (SUI) [11] vs. Jessica Pegula (USA) [23]
Gael Monfils (FRA) [17] vs. Jannik Sinner (ITA) [13]

7:00 PM Start
Lloyd Harris (RSA) vs. Denis Shapovalov (CAN) [7]
Varvara Gracheva (RUS) vs. Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) [14]


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