NEW YORK: Carlos Alcaraz battled past Jannik Sinner in five sets to reach the US Open semi-finals on Thursday in the latest ever finish in the tournament’s 141-year history.
A thrilling 5hr 15min duel that finished at 2:50am local time ended with the 19-year-old Alcaraz claiming a 6-3, 6-7 (7/9), 6-7 (0/7), 7-5, 6-3 victory to advance to a last-four showdown with Frances Tiafoe of the United States on Friday.
The previous record for the latest finish to a US Open match was 2:26am, which had been set three times before.
Incredibly, it was the second early-hours-of-the-morning finish for Alcaraz this week.
The Spanish No.3 seed had edged past Croatia’s Marin Cilic in another five-set epic in the fourth round in a match that finished at 2.23am local time on Tuesday.
A crowd of a few thousand die-hard spectators roared their appreciation for Alcaraz as the Spaniard collapsed to the Arthur Ashe Stadium court in delight after a famous victory over Sinner, the 21-year-old Italian 11th seed.
“Honestly, I still don’t know I did it,” said Alcaraz after a win which came after he survived a match point in the fourth set.
“It was a high quality and unbelievable match. Jannik is a great player. His level is just amazing.
“I always say that you have to believe in yourself all the time. Hope is the last thing that you lose. I just believed in myself and believed in my game.”