Carlos Alcaraz Reacts To Record-Breaking US Open Win Over Sinner - UBITENNIS
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Carlos Alcaraz Reacts To Record-Breaking US Open Win Over Sinner

In what was one of the most gripping matches of the entire season, the 19-year-old saved a match point en route to achieving yet another milestone in his blossoming career.

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Carlos Alcaraz is through to his first Grand Slam semi-final after prevailing over Jannik Sinner in a dramatic late-night clash at the US Open which has rewritten the record books.

 

A battle between the two youngest players in the world’s top 20 saw Alcaraz fight his way to a marathon 6-3, 6-7(7), 6-7(0), 7-5, 6-3, victory in what was one of the most electrifying matches to take place at Flushing Meadows in recent history. Playing on court for more than five hours, the quarter-final showdown didn’t end until 2:50 am which is the latest time a match has ever finished at the New York major. Easily beating the previous record of 2:26 am. It is also the second-longest match to have ever been played at the event.

The battle of the rising stars featured plenty of twists and turns. Best illustrated by the fact there were a staggering 41 break points with 17 of those being converted. Alcaraz managed to ride out the storm with the help of 58 winners against 37 unforced errors. In doing so he has become the youngest man to reach the semi-final stage in New York since Rafael Nadal back in 2005.

“Honestly I still don’t know how I did it. The level that I played, the level of the match and the high quality of tennis, it’s unbelievable. Jannik Sinner is a great player and his level is just amazing,” Alcaraz said afterwards.
“I will never be tired to say that all the wins that I have in this amazing court is thanks to the support I receive in the bad moments in the match.”

In what was a remarkable encounter, the 19-year-old Spaniard saw numerous opportunities come and go against Sinner who at times produced some of the best tennis he has ever played. After winning the opener, Alcaraz then had a chance to clinch the second and third frames but failed to do so. Handing his opponent a two-sets-to-one lead.

At one stage it looked as if it would be Sinner who would seal a place in his maiden major semi-final. The Italian would No.13 was a game away from victory in the fourth set and even had a match point but failed to convert. Opening the door for Alcaraz to come back with the help of a four-game winning streak.

Despite the length of their encounter, the quality of shot-making from both players didn’t decline throughout. In the decider, it was once again Sinner who had the upper hand after hitting a deep return shot which prompted Alcaraz to return the ball out. Giving him a break for 3-2. However, the lead was short-lived with Alcaraz breaking back in the following game with the help of a sinner forehand crashing into the net.

Seizing the opportunity, the third seed hit a flawless passing shot, followed by another mistake from his opponent, to break for the second time in a row. Moving him to the verge of victory. Unlike Sinner, Alcaraz managed to close out the match on his first match point with an ace. Prompting the youngster to fall to the ground out of sheer delight and exhaustion. It is the second match in the row that Alcaraz has finished after 2 am.

“I always say that you have to believe in yourself all the time. Hope is the last thing you lose and I just believed in myself,” he said.
“I had to stay in the match and try to stay calm but it is difficult to stay calm at that moment.”

Alcaraz will take on Frances Tiafoe for a place in the final after the world No.26 saw off Andrey Rublev in straight sets. In doing so he has become the first American man to reach the last four of the tournament since Andy Roddick in 2006.

“Everybody knows the level of Tiafoe. He plays very good and has a lot of confidence right now. This court (Arthur Ashe Stadium) is special to him, as well,” Alcaraz previewed of his semi-final clash.
“It’s going to be a very tough match but now I am going to enjoy this moment. I have made my first semi-final of a Grand Slam and tomorrow I will have time to think about the match.”

Should Alcaraz beat Tiafoe he would be on the verge of clinching the No.1 spot. The only scenario where he wouldn’t reach the top of the standings would be if Casper Ruud, who next plays Karen Khachanov, wins the title.

Both men’s semi-final matches will take place on Friday.

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Playing Clay Events After Wimbledon Was A Mistake, Says Diego Schwartzman

The former French Open semi-finalist is seeking to win his first title since March 2021 at the Tel Aviv Open this week.

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Diego Schwartzman (Roberto Dell'Olivo)

Diego Schwartzman will likely reevaluate his schedule for next year after admitting that part of his plans for this summer backfired. 

 

The world No.17 enters into the final quarter of the season with 31 wins against 22 losses on the Tour but is yet to win a title. Although he did reach back-to-back finals back in February in Argentina and Brazil. He has won two out of eight matches against top 10 opposition, defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas at the ATP Cup and Felix Auger-Aliassime in Barcelona. 

Reflecting on his performance, Schwartzman admits that his decision to return to European clay after playing at Wimbledon was a mistake. He lost his second match in Gstaad to Pablo Carreno Busta and then his first in Hamburg to Emil Ruusuvori. 

“It’s difficult to play at the same level every tournament, I’ve made a bad decision playing clay tournaments after Wimbledon, I didn’t have time to rest,” he said during his pre-tournament press conference at the Tel Aviv Open. “I paid the price and had some bad losses. But I started to feel much better in USA hard court season, lost to Stefanos Tsitsipas who reached the final in Cincinnati and to Frances Tiafoe at the US Open. Now I am feeling very good, I really love playing indoor tournaments.”

The 30-year-old has headed straight to Tel Aviv from the Laver Cup where Roger Federer played the last match of his career. Despite Schwartzman’s Team World winning the title for the first time, his only contribution to the tie saw him lose 6-1, 6-2, to Tsitsipas. 

Retirement was very much the topic of conversation during the Laver Cup with others such as Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic questioned by reporters about their plans in the sport. As for Schwartzman, he stayed coy about how much longer he would continue playing after saying in the past he might stop at the age of 33. 

“33 — is a good age to retire, isn’t it? South Americans are in different situations compared to European players. We travel too much, and sometimes we are not coming back home for 2-3 months, while Europeans can fly home every week. It’s tough,” he said. 
“As for Roger — he’s a special player, I think he is just the greatest in our sport.”

The Argentine is seeded third this week in Israel and will begin his campaign against Arthur Rinderknech who defeated qualifier Marius Copil in his opening match. 

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Laver Cup Daily Preview: Team Europe Goes for a Fifth Straight Laver Cup

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The lineup for Day 3 (twitter.com/lavercup)

Heading into Day 3, the 2022 Laver Cup is feeling extremely familiar.  Team Europe has an 8-4 advantage, and only needs two wins on Sunday to secure their fifth consecutive Laver Cup.  Team World needs to win three matches to pull off the upset and obtain their first. 

 

Sunday’s play gets underway in London at 12:00pm local time.  And each match on Sunday is worth three points.


Matteo Berrettini and Andy Murray (Team Europe) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime and Jack Sock (Team World) – 12:00pm

Berrettini was victorious in both singles and doubles on Saturday, defeating Auger-Aliassime in singles, and teaming with Djokovic to overcome Sock and de Minaur in doubles.  So Matteo gained victories over both of his Sunday opponents on Saturday.  Murray lost to de Minaur in singles on Friday.  Andy and Jack are the most accomplished doubles players in this match, as Sock is pretty much Team World’s doubles specialist.  If he and Felix cannot pull of the victory on Sunday, it could be a pretty short day.


Novak Djokovic (Team Europe) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime (Team World)

Like Berrettini, Djokovic won in singles and doubles on Saturday, comfortably dispatching of Tiafoe in singles.  While it was his first match in over two months, Novak showed no rust whatsoever.  Auger-Aliassime’s loss to Berrettini on Saturday will not help his confidence against the 21-time Major champion.

Novak and Felix have only played once before, and that occurred four months ago in Rome on clay.  It was a pretty tight affair, but Djokovic prevailed 7-5, 7-6(1).  And there’s not much evidence to support a different outcome on Sunday.  Novak is surely eager to re-assert his authority after missing so much of this season due to his vaccination status.


Stefanos Tsitsipas (Team Europe) vs. Frances Tiafoe (Team World) – If Necessary

Tsitsipas easily beat Diego Schwartzman on Friday, dropping just three games.  He is 3-2 against Tiafoe, and 3-1 on hard courts.  However, Frances claimed their most recent encounter, last fall in Vienna, which was also on an indoor hard court.


Casper Ruud (Team Europe) vs. Taylor Fritz (Team World) – If Necessary

Ruud defeated Sock on Friday, while Fritz defeated Norrie on Saturday.  If this match takes place, it will be their first career meeting.


The full Laver Cup schedule is here.

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Laver Cup Daily Preview: Novak Djokovic to Play Singles and Doubles on Saturday

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The lineup for Day 2 (twitter.com/lavercup)

In the wake of Roger Federer’s incredibly emotional retirement on Day 1, the focus of this event shifts to the rest of the competitors on Day 2.  And for the first time in the five-year history of the Laver Cup, Team World goes into Day 2 without a deficit.  With both Federer and Rafael Nadal replaced by alternates for Day 2 and Day 3, is this Team World’s opportunity to capture their first Laver Cup? 

 

Each day, this preview will look at all four scheduled matches, while taking an extended look at the most notable match of the day.  Saturday’s day session gets underway in London at 1:00pm local time, and the night session at 7:00pm.  And each match on Saturday is worth two points.


Matteo Berrettini (Team Europe) vs. Felix Auger-Aliassime (Team World) – 1:00pm

These two good friends have played four times, with Berrettini winning on three of those occasions.  Matteo’s wins came three years ago in the final of Stuttgart on grass, in the quarterfinals of last year’s Wimbledon, and a year ago in this event.  Auger-Aliassime’s only win occurred last summer in Cincinnati.  Matteo is coming off a quarterfinal run in New York, as well as three victories last week in Davis Cup.  Felix was upset in the second round of the US Open by Jack Draper, and went 2-1 in Davis Cup.


Cameron Norrie (Team Europe) vs. Taylor Fritz (Team World) – Second in the Day Session

Norrie was also an alternate in last year’s Laver Cup, but did not play.  Fritz was a part of Team World in 2019, when he went 1-1 in singles, defeating Dominic Thiem during Sunday’s play in a must-win match to keep his team alive.  Cam is now 45-22 on the year, while Fritz is 36-17.  Both men achieved their best-ever Major performances two months ago at Wimbledon.  They played each other just last week in Davis Cup, with Norrie prevailing after three tight sets.  Overall they have split 10 previous meetings.


Novak Djokovic (Team Europe) vs. Frances Tiafoe (Team World) – 7:00pm

Is Tiafoe ready to upset another member of “The Big Three” on Saturday?  He earned the biggest win of his career by taking out Rafael Nadal at the US Open, and defeated Nadal and Federer in doubles on Day 1 alongside Jack Sock.  Meanwhile, this will be the first match for Djokovic in over two months, since he won the Wimbledon final over Nick Kyrgios.  The unvaccinated Novak was unable to travel to North America for the hard court summer season.

Djokovic has only played seven tournaments this year, amassing a record of 23-5.  Tiafoe is 26-19, and is coming off his exciting semifinal run in New York.  Their only previous matchup was at the 2021 Australian Open, when Novak defeated Frances in four sets.  Frances is certainly the much more match-tough player on this day.  But despite his recent inactivity, Djokovic should still be considered the favorite.


Matteo Berrettini and Novak Djokovic (Team Europe) vs. Alex de Minaur and Jack Sock (Team World) – Second in the Night Session

Novak will have only a few minutes of rest ahead of this doubles match, so the length of his match with Tiafoe could impact the result here.  This will be Novak’s first time playing doubles since last year’s Davis Cup finals.  Berrettini played three doubles matches this past January at the ATP Cup, going 1-2.  De Minaur overcame Andy Murray in singles on Friday in what was a grueling contest, while Sock was defeated in singles and victorious in doubles.


The full Laver Cup schedule is here.

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