Carlos Alcaraz on Sunday became the youngest player in the Open era to reach the quarter-finals of the men’s singles at Flushing Meadows after the 18-year-old Spaniard beat Germany’s Peter Gojowczyk 5-7, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2, 6-0.
Alcaraz, who is 18 years and four months old, is eight days younger than Andre Agassi when the American reached the 1988 US Open quarter-finals and semi-finals, according to US Open statistics.
The Spaniard is also the youngest to reach this stage in New York since Brazilian Thomaz Koch in 1963, five years before the sport turned professional, when the tournament was known as the US Championships.
“It’s really tough to play these kind of matches, to play fifth sets,” Alcaraz told reporters. “I hope to play more second weeks, to play more quarter-finals of Grand Slams. I didn’t expect to play [in the] quarter-finals here.”
Gojowczyk, 14 years older than Alcaraz and playing in the fourth round of a major for the first time, made a bright start to edge the first set, but was hampered by an injury to his thigh and took a medical timeout midway through the fourth.
The German fought hard, but faded badly as the match wore on, laboring behind the baseline as Alcaraz closed out the match with a bagel in the decider, sealing the win in 3 hours, 31 minutes when Gojowczyk sent a forehand long.
Alcaraz smashed 35 winners and seven aces, while winning 15 points at the net, feeding off the energy of the vocal crowd, while his opponent ended the match with 84 unforced errors.
“In the first sets I thought that I reached my limit physically and mentally. I think the crowd was really, really important for me in this situation,” Alcaraz said. “I felt the energy of the crowd pushing me up ... without the crowd, it couldn’t be possible to be here.”
Next up for the Spaniard is 12th seed Felix Auger-Aliassime, who beat Frances Tiafoe of the US 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (8/6), 6-4.
In the women’s singles, Leylah Fernandez brushed aside yet another former champion as the fearless Canadian teenager stormed into the quarter-finals with a 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 win over 16th seed Angelique Kerber.
It was a precocious and poised performance from Fernandez, who celebrated her 19th birthday yesterday and had already sent a jolt through Flushing Meadows on Friday last week when she stunned third seed and defending champion Naomi Osaka.
There would be no letdown for Fernandez after the biggest win of her fledgling career, the youngster soaking up the energy from a seething Louis Armstrong crowd after dropping the opening set to three-time Grand Slam winner Kerber.
“Honestly, the crowd has been amazing, so thanks to them I was able to win,” said Fernandez, who next faces Ukrainian fifth seed Elina Svitolina. “I was just trusting my game. She’s an incredible fighter, incredible player. Just putting one more ball back in, fighting, and just having fun on the court.”
Fernandez had grabbed the early break at 4-2, but could not consolidate it as Kerber, the 2016 US Open winner, broke right back with the help of a pair of double faults by the Canadian.
Having made the breakthrough, the experienced German quickly took command, winning four straight games to open up a 1-0 lead, but Fernandez remained unfazed, fist-pumping and screaming with each winner throughout a tight second set that went to a tiebreak that she took 7-5.
Kerber, 15 years older than her opponent, countered Fernandez’s enthusiasm with veteran calm and focus, but it was the world No. 73 taking charge in the third set, sweeping the final five games to cinch a breathtaking victory.
“I think it was a tough one,” Kerber said. “I mean I gave everything I had today. She played I think an unbelievable match, especially in the third set.”
“I think she played also one of her best matches in her career, and she had nothing to lose,” the German said.
TREBLE CHANCE: Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei is eyeing a third title in the California desert after winning in 2014 with Peng Shuai and in 2018 with Barbora Strycova Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Belgian partner Elise Mertens on Thursday cruised into the women’s doubles final at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California. It took second seeds Hsieh and Mertens just 54 minutes to defeat Japanese third seeds Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara 6-2, 6-0 in the semi-finals to advance to their second final as a duo. Hsieh and Mertens denied the Japanese duo, winners of a WTA Tour-best five titles this year, a spot in their sixth final of the season as they broke serve five times and won the final nine games. “We’re very happy about the performance. Just
HUSBAND WANTED: Athletics Kenya said the country had lost a jewel who was one of the fastest-rising athletes on the global stage thanks to her eye-catching performances Record-breaking Kenyan distance runner Agnes Tirop was on Wednesday found dead with stab wounds to her stomach in a suspected homicide, athletics officials said. Police said that they were on the hunt for her husband over the incident at Tirop’s home in the high-altitude training hub of Iten, Kenya. Tirop, 25, was a fast-rising athlete — a double world 10,000m bronze medalist and 2015 world cross country champion who also finished fourth in the 5,000m at the Tokyo Olympics this year. Only last month, she smashed the women-only 10km world record at the Road to Records Event in Germany, with a time of
One player took off from the airport, while another jumped out the window of his hotel room. In all, of the 24 members of Cuba’s national baseball team who arrived in Mexico for the under-23 World Cup, only about half came home. This year, a record number of players have defected from the communist-run island nation, where baseball is the national pastime, but which is enduring its worst economic crisis in 30 years. The mass defection is “unprecedented in the history of baseball,” said Francys Romero, a sports journalist who has written a book on the phenomenon. The player who jumped from his
The national men’s soccer team were eliminated from the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers after Indonesia beat them 3-0 on Monday, while the women’s national team are still in contention in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup, and are training in Bahrain to take on Laos next week. Taiwan’s women have arrived in Bahrain, after boarding their flight on Saturday. They are training to compete in Group A of the qualifiers against Laos on Monday. They then face hosts Bahrain on Sunday next week. This round of matches doubles as Asia’s first-stage qualifier for the FIFA Women’s World Cup, which is to be hosted