US Open: Alcaraz fights back from match point down to edge Sinner in five-hour thriller

By Sports Desk September 08, 2022

Carlos Alcaraz survived a Jannik Sinner match point before going on to clinch his maiden grand slam semi-final berth with an epic five-set victory in more than five hours at the US Open.

The Spanish third seed triumphed 6-3 6-7 (7-9) 6-7 (0-7) 7-5 6-3 in the latest-ever finish at the US Open, officially ending at 2:50am Thursday local time.

The match was within nine minutes of being the longest ever in US Open history, the record held by Michael Chang and Stefan Edberg from 1992 of five hours and 26 minutes.

The 19-year-old fought back from a Sinner match point in the fourth set, rallying to force a fifth, where he broke the Italian 11th seed in the eighth game before serving it out for victory.

Alcaraz blew opportunities too, including five set points in the second set, while he failed to serve out the third set before Sinner won the tie-break 7-0 to take all the momentum into the fourth.

But the emerging Alcaraz showcased his doggedness even after falling a break behind in the fourth, to set up a semi-final date against 22nd seed Frances Tiafoe, who has beaten Andrey Rublev and Rafael Nadal in his past two matches.

The win also means Alcaraz is a step closer to claiming the world number one ranking for the first time, which will be achieved if he wins the title, or even if he makes the final and fifth seed Casper Ruud does not.

Data slam: Alcaraz cannot help Nadal comparisons

Alcaraz, 19, is not fond of comparisons to compatriot Rafael Nadal, but his victory means he becomes the youngest grand slam semi-finalist since the 22-time major winner in 2005. 

Little separated Alcaraz and Sinner who will both have won huge admiration, but the Italian's 63 unforced errors compared to the Spaniard's 38 was an outlier.

ACES/DOUBLE FAULTS

Alcaraz – 5/5
Sinner – 8/11

WINNERS/UNFORCED ERRORS

Alcaraz – 58/38
Sinner – 61/63

BREAK POINTS WON

Alcaraz – 11/26
Sinner – 7/16

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    Novak Djokovic knows "history is on the line" as he prepares to face Carlos Alcaraz in the Wimbledon final for the second year running.

    The Serb can move clear of Margaret Court and become the most decorated player in Grand Slam history with a 25th title, while matching Roger Federer's record of eight men's singles crowns at SW19.

    Djokovic will appear in his 10th Wimbledon final on Sunday, aiming to avenge his defeat by Alcaraz in a five-set thriller on Centre Court 12 months ago.

    The 37-year-old acknowledges there will be huge expectations on his shoulders when he steps out for a sixth consecutive championship match at the All England Club, but he will attempt to use it as "fuel" for success.

    "Obviously, I'm aware that Roger holds eight Wimbledon [titles]. I hold seven," he said. "History is on the line. Also, the 25th potential Grand Slam.

    "Of course, it serves as a great motivation, but at the same time, it's also a lot of pressure and expectation.

    "Any Grand Slam that I play, there's always history now on the line. I will try to use that as a fuel to play my best tennis.

    "Every time I step out on the court now, even though I'm 37 and competing with 21-year-olds, I still expect myself to win most of the matches, and people expect me to win 99% of the matches that I play.

    "I always have to come out on the court and perform my best in order to still be at a level with Carlos, Jannik [Sinner], Sascha [Zverev], Daniil [Medvedev], or any of those guys."

    Incredibly, Djokovic has endured a silverware-free season up to this point, while he withdrew from last month's French Open at the quarter-final stage to undergo knee surgery.

    However, the 24-time major champion highlighted 2018 as a previous example of a successful campaign that had started slowly.

    Indeed, he recovered from an elbow operation earlier in the year - along with fourth-round and quarter-final exits from the Australian Open and French Open respectively - to win Wimbledon and the US Open.

    "This year hasn't been that successful for me," he added. "It's probably the weakest results in the first six months I've had in many years.

    "That's okay. I had to adapt and accept that, and also really try to find a way out from the injury that I had and regroup.

    "At Wimbledon, historically, there have been seasons where I maybe wasn't playing at a desired level, but then I would win a Wimbledon title and then things would change.

    "Wimbledon just extracts the best of me and motivates me to always show up and perform the best I can."

  • Record-chasing Djokovic acknowledges 'history is on the line' ahead of Wimbledon final Record-chasing Djokovic acknowledges 'history is on the line' ahead of Wimbledon final

    Novak Djokovic knows "history is on the line" as he prepares to face Carlos Alcaraz in the Wimbledon final for the second year running.

    The Serb can move clear of Margaret Court and become the most decorated player in Grand Slam history with a 25th title, while matching Roger Federer's record of eight men's singles crowns at SW19.

    Djokovic will appear in his 10th Wimbledon final on Sunday, aiming to avenge his defeat by Alcaraz in a five-set thriller on Centre Court 12 months ago.

    The 37-year-old acknowledges there will be huge expectations on his shoulders when he steps out for a sixth consecutive championship match at the All England Club, but he will attempt to use it as "fuel" for success.

    "Obviously, I'm aware that Roger holds eight Wimbledon [titles]. I hold seven," he said. "History is on the line. Also, the 25th potential Grand Slam.

    "Of course, it serves as a great motivation, but at the same time, it's also a lot of pressure and expectation.

    "Any Grand Slam that I play, there's always history now on the line. I will try to use that as a fuel to play my best tennis.

    "Every time I step out on the court now, even though I'm 37 and competing with 21-year-olds, I still expect myself to win most of the matches, and people expect me to win 99% of the matches that I play.

    "I always have to come out on the court and perform my best in order to still be at a level with Carlos, Jannik [Sinner], Sascha [Zverev], Daniil [Medvedev], or any of those guys."

    Incredibly, Djokovic has endured a silverware-free season up to this point, while he withdrew from last month's French Open at the quarter-final stage to undergo knee surgery.

    However, the 24-time major champion highlighted 2018 as a previous example of a successful campaign that had started slowly.

    Indeed, he recovered from an elbow operation earlier in the year - along with fourth-round and quarter-final exits from the Australian Open and French Open respectively - to win Wimbledon and the US Open.

    "This year hasn't been that successful for me," he added. "It's probably the weakest results in the first six months I've had in many years.

    "That's okay. I had to adapt and accept that, and also really try to find a way out from the injury that I had and regroup.

    "At Wimbledon, historically, there have been seasons where I maybe wasn't playing at a desired level, but then I would win a Wimbledon title and then things would change.

    "Wimbledon just extracts the best of me and motivates me to always show up and perform the best I can."

  • 'Best day of my life' – Krejcikova celebrates maiden Wimbledon title 'Best day of my life' – Krejcikova celebrates maiden Wimbledon title

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    It brought up Krejcikova's second grand slam title, after the 2021 French Open, making her the seventh player to win their first women's singles finals at both tournaments.

    Having pulled off three major shocks to get to the final, knocking out Danielle Collins, Jelena Ostapenko, and Elena Rybakina, Krejcikova appeared stunned when she finally got her hands on the trophy.

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    "It's super difficult to explain what I'm feeling right now. I would like to congratulate Jasmine and her team. She had a great two weeks, it was a great final, and we were fighting for every point.

    "I think nobody believes that I got to the final and nobody believes that I won Wimbledon. I still can't believe it.

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    Following her win over Rybakina in the semi-final, Krejcikova paid tribute to Jana Novotna, who passed away in 2017 from ovarian cancer at the age of 49.

    She first met the 1998 Wimbledon winner 10 years ago, and has now emulated her former mentor's achievements.

    "I think that day, knocking on her door, it changed my life," an emotional Krejcikova added. "Because in that period when I finished the juniors, I didn’t know what to do – should I continue playing pro or go into education?

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