Tsitsipas, Osaka make early exits

On Friday at the US Open, with a dramatic five-set victory over No. 3 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alcaraz showed why he’s been getting so much attention already.
Carlos Alcaraz of Spain celebrates after defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece. (right) Naomi Osaka
Carlos Alcaraz of Spain celebrates after defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece. (right) Naomi Osaka

New York

Until now, 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz has exhibited enough promise and precociousness to make people think he eventually could succeed Rafael Nadal as Spain’s top tennis player.
On Friday at the US Open, with a dramatic five-set victory over No. 3 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alcaraz showed why he’s been getting so much attention already.
With tenacity to match his talent, and boosted by a rowdy Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd a tad tired of Tsitsipas’ penchant for taking lengthy breaks between sets, Alcaraz won 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (2), 0-6, 7-6 (5) in just over four hours to become the youngest man in the fourth round at Flushing Meadows since a couple of guys named Pete Sampras and Michael Chang in 1989.
“I just don’t know what happened out there in the court,” the 55th-ranked Alcaraz said after what was only his 10th Grand Slam contest.
“I can’t believe that I beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in an epic match. For me, it’s a dream come true.” His was not the only significant victory for an 18-year-old against a top player: Later in that same arena, 2018 and 2020 champion Naomi Osaka tossed and spiked her racket as she let her lead slip away in what turned into a 5-7, 7-6 (2), 6-4 loss to Canadian teen Leylah Fernandez.
Afterward, a teary-eyed Osaka said she is considering taking another hiatus from the sport; she pulled out of the French Open and went on a mental health break after saying she gets anxious when she speaks to the media and has dealt with depression for years.
“This is very hard to articulate,” she said Friday.
Both Alcaraz and Fernandez made sure during on-court interviews to thank the fans, who are making up for last year’s absence — no spectators were allowed because of the coronavirus pandemic then, but it’s full capacity now — with plenty of noise.
They chanted “Let’s go, Carlos!” during his win and rose to their feet for ovations at various points, including right before the concluding tiebreaker, with Alcaraz waving his arms to request, and receive, even more support.
“He can be a contender for Grand Slam titles,” said Tsitsipas, the runner-up at the French Open this year.
“He has the game to be there.”
Alcaraz showed off so many skills against Tsitsipas. Big cuts off both wings, so big that this was the assessment offered by Tsitsipas: “I’ve never seen someone hit the ball so hard.” And that was backed up by the stats, none more remarkable than the one showing that Alcaraz finished with 45 winners off forehands and backhands, compared with 14 for Tsitsipas.
RESULTS: Men: C Alcaraz bt S Tsitsipas (3) 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(2), 0-6, 7-6(5); A Rublev (5) lost to F Tiafoe 6-4, 3-6, 6-7(6), 6-4, 1-6; R Bautista Agut (18) lost to F Auger-Aliassime (12) 3-6, 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 3-6; A Molcan lost to D Schwartzman (11) 4-6, 3-6, 3-6. Women: L Fernandez bt N Osaka (3) 5-7, 7-6(2), 6-4; A Sabalenka (2) bt D Collins 6-3, 6-3; A Kerber (16) bt S Stephens 5-7, 6-2, 6-3; E Svitolina (5) bt D Kasatkina 6-4, 6-2

Visit news.dtnext.in to explore our interactive epaper!

Download the DT Next app for more exciting features!

Click here for iOS

Click here for Android

Related Stories

No stories found.
DT next
www.dtnext.in