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Alcaraz stuns Tsitsipas in five-set thriller in Arthur Ashe Stadium to reach U.S. Open Tennis Fourth Round

Carlos Alcaraz reacts after upsetting Stefanos Tsitsipas during their match on the fifth day of the US Open. The US Open runs from 30 August through 12 September. EPA-EFE/JOHN G. MABANGLO.

By Ricky Dimon

Carlos Alcaraz has been touted as a top prospect in tennis for several years.

The 2021 U.S. Open may go down as the setting at which he truly announced his arrival.

Alcaraz unofficially laid the groundwork for what is expected to be a rise to superstardom when he stunned Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(2), 0-6, 7-6(5) during third-round action on Friday evening. The 18-year-old treated a raucous Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd–the vast majority of which was firmly in his corner–to a memorable victory that required four hours and seven minutes of play.

“I have no words to explain how I’m feeling right now,” Alcaraz said afterward. “I just don’t know what happened out there on the court. I can’t believe that I beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in an epic match. For me it’s a dream come true.”

It was certainly a dream start to the match for Alcaraz, who played fearless tennis right out of the gates on his way to a 6-3, 3-0 lead. With much more experience and a much higher ranking of No. 3 in the world, though, Tsitsipas was never going to bow out quietly. The Greek finally found his footing and recovered to take the second set by winning six of the next seven games.

“I have no words to explain how I’m feeling right now” – Carlos Alcaraz

It wasn’t the last time Tsitsipas responded well to adversity. After losing set three in a tiebreaker, he had no trouble whatsoever in forcing a decider. The 23-year-old dropped a mere 10 points in the entire fourth set.

Surrendering the fourth in such swift fashion may have been a blessing in disguise for Alcaraz. It allowed him to save energy for the fifth–a fifth and final set that won’t soon be forgotten. Serving second and thus faced with the pressure of constantly playing from behind, the world No. 55 delivered clutch hold after clutch hold all the way to a tiebreaker.

In the ‘breaker, Alcaraz built a 6-3 advantage only to see two match points on his own serve go by the wayside. At 6-5, however, the teenager converted his third chance in appropriate fashion with a punishing forehand winner.

It was his 61st winner of the day, 18 of which came in the final set alone.

Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece reacts as he plays Carlos Alcaraz of Spain during their match on the fifth day of the US Open Tennis. EPA-EFE/JUSTIN LANE

“(He was) going for every single shot,” Tsitsipas commented. “I have never seen someone play such a good fifth set, honestly…. (His) ball speed was incredible. I’ve never seen someone hit the ball so hard.”

It is hardly the No. 3 seed’s own fault that he is out of the U.S. Open. He simply ran into an opponent that could not be stopped.

“The best tennis I’ve played,” Alcaraz concluded.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.