Tennis·ROUNDUP

Alcaraz tops Sinner in latest-ending match in U.S. Open history to advance to semis

This was a match that would not end. Should not end, one might say. Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner, two of the brightest young stars of men's tennis, traded shots of the highest quality and countless momentum swings across five sterling sets for 5 hours, 15 minutes until Alcaraz finally won the last point at 2:50 a.m. on Thursday, the latest finish in U.S. Open history.

Canada's Dabrowski, Fernandez eliminated in respective doubles matches

Spain's Carlos Alcaraz reacts during his win over Italy's Jannik Sinner in their 2022 US Open Tennis tournament men's singles quarter-final match in New York City on Wednesday. (Corey Sipkin/AFP via Getty Images)

This was a match that would not end. Should not end, one might say.

Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner, two of the brightest young stars of men's tennis, traded shots of the highest quality and countless momentum swings across five sterling sets for 5 hours, 15 minutes until Alcaraz finally won the last point at 2:50 a.m. on Thursday, the latest finish in U.S. Open history.

It was "only" a quarter-final, no trophy at stake, yet was as taut a thriller as this tournament has produced or, likely, will. A tour de force of big cuts on the full sprint and plenty of guts, a 6-3, 6-7 (7), 6-7 (0), 7-5, 6-3 victory for the No. 3-seeded Alcaraz, a 19-year-old from Spain.

He reached his first Grand Slam semifinal and is the youngest man to get that far at the U.S. Open since Pete Sampras won the title at 19 in 1990. Alcaraz, who has a chance to move up to No. 1 in the rankings next week, will face No. 22 Frances Tiafoe of the United States on Friday.

This match began Wednesday evening at about 9:45 p.m. and easily surpassed the previous mark for latest time of finish at the U.S. Open, which had been 2:26 a.m., shared by three matches.

After his much more mundane, three-set victory over Andrey Rublev in a quarter-final that ended at about 4:45 p.m. on Wednesday, Tiafoe was rather prescient when asked about Alcaraz and Sinner.

"I just hope they play a marathon match, super-long match," Tiafoe said with a smile, "and they get really tired come Friday."

The clock already was past 2 a.m. when Coco Gauff, the 18-year-old American who was the runner-up at the French Open and bowed out in the U.S. Open quarter-finals on Tuesday, spoke for anyone paying attention to Alcaraz vs. Sinner when she tweeted: "this match is insane. I leave at 6am for the airport but I refuse to sleep and miss this."

Still, even with thousands and thousands of empty seats, there were enough who remained on hand to make as much noise as a full house at times. Both players would wave their rackets or motion with their arms to encourage the fans to get even louder. And, naturally, the fans would oblige.

It was as back-and-forth as could be.

After taking the first set, Alcaraz held five set points in the second — but Sinner saved them all.

In the third, Alcaraz broke to lead 6-5 and served for that set — but Sinner broke to force a tiebreaker that he dominated.

In the fourth, it was Sinner who served for the victory at 5-4, even holding a match point — but Alcaraz broke there and wound up pushing what already was a masterpiece to a fifth.

And in the fifth, Alcaraz pushed through, dropping to his back when it ended, his chest heaving, and covered his face with his hand.

Tiafoe becomes 1st American man to reach U.S. Open semis since 2006

Tiafoe became the first American man to reach the U.S. Open semifinals since 2006 by beating Andrey Rublev 7-6 (3), 7-6 (0), 6-4 behind the backing of a boisterous partisan crowd in Arthur Ashe Stadium on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old Tiafoe, who grew up in Maryland, put on a performance just as strong, if not stronger, than the one he used to eliminate 22-time Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal in the fourth round.

"Man, man, this is wild. This is crazy. Had the biggest win of my life 24 hours ago... That's huge growth. it's tough to turn the page," said Tiafoe, who is seeded 22nd at Flushing Meadows.

Then, looking ahead, and making sure everyone knows this big milestone is not enough to satisfy him, Tiafoe said: "Let's enjoy this one. We've got two more, guys. We've got two more."

Andy Roddick was the last U.S. man to get to the semifinals in New York, when he lost to Roger Fededer in the title match 16 years ago. Roddick also was the last man from the country to win any Grand Slam singles championship, taking the 2003 U.S. Open.

Tiafoe played aggressive, offensive tennis and used 18 aces along with strong volleying to oust No. 9 Rublev, a Russian who dropped to 0-6 in major quarter-finals. Tiafoe won 31 of 41 points when he went to the net; Rublev only ventured forward 11 times.

Canadians bow out of tournament

Ottawa's Gabriela Dabrowski and Mexican partner Giuliana Olmos have been bounced from the U.S. Open.

Dabrowski and Olmos lost to the Czech team of Barbora Krejcikova and Katerina Siniakova 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-3 in the quarter-finals of the Grand Slam tournament.

Canada's Gabriela Dabrowski, left, and Mexico's Giuliana Olmos are seen above during their three-set quarter-final loss in women's doubles at the U.S. Open on Wednesday. (Mike Stobe/Getty Images)

The Czechs won 6 of 22 break points compared to Dabrowski and Olmos's 4 of 7.

The Canadian and Olmos won the match's only tiebreak.

"We had a tough win the other day, a very emotional, long match in really tough conditions," Dabrowski said of her 6-3, 3-6, 10-8 three-round win with Olmos over No. 9 women's doubles seeds Asia Muhammad and Ena Shibahara Sunday. "I think overall, a quarter-final result is good. It's not where I want to be. But it's better than having lost that one, I would say."

WATCH | Dabrowski, Olmos eliminated at U.S. Open:

Ottawa's Gabriela Dabrowski falls in U.S. Open women's doubles quarters

2 years ago
Duration 2:12
The number three seeds Barbora Krejčíková and Kateřina Siniaková of the Czech Republic defeated Ottawa's Gabriela Dabrowski and Giuliana Olmos of Mexico 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-3 to advance to the women's doubles semifinals at the U.S. Open.

Later on Wednesday, Leylah Annie Fernandez of Laval, Que., and partner Jack Sock lost 7-5, 7-6 (3) in mixed doubles quarter-final action against Storm Sanders and John Peers.

Fernandez and Sock fired six aces and broke on two of nine opportunities, compared to seven aces and three of five break points won for the Australian duo.

"Today just wasn't my day. There were so many opportunities that we had but in those key moments, we weren't as solid as the other rounds or as our opponents today," Fernandez said. "It happens. I can't beat myself up too much about it. But I think it was a great experience for me — especially it [being] my first time playing mixed doubles. I had a lot of fun."

The 20-year-old Fernandez was the last Canadian standing in the tournament. She was ousted in the second round of both the women's singles and doubles competition earlier in the event.

WATCH | Fernandez, Sock lose in quarter-finals:

Fernandez & Sock fall in U.S. Open mixed doubles quarters

2 years ago
Duration 1:45
Canadian Leylah Fernandez and American Jack Sock lost 7-5, 7-6 to Aussies Storm Sanders and John Peers on Wednesday.

Swiatek dispatches Pegula

Iga Swiatek's game is most effective, her mind most at ease, on red clay courts, where her two Grand Slam titles so far arrived.

She sure seems to be getting the hang of this hard-court thing at the U.S. Open, though.

Iga Swiatek of Poland celebrates during a win over Jessica Pegula of the United States in their quarter-final match at the 2022 U.S. Open in New York City on Wednesday. (Sarah Stier/Getty Images)

The No. 1-ranked Swiatek moved into her first semifinal at Flushing Meadows by pulling out a 6-3, 7-6 (4) victory over American Jessica Pegula on Wednesday night in a match filled with a combined 13 breaks of serve, 10 in the second set alone.

"I wasn't expecting that at the beginning of the tournament," said Swiatek, never before beyond the fourth round in New York. "Trying to keep my expectations low."

Swiatek, a 21-year-old from Poland who won the French Open in 2020 and this June, twice failed to serve out the victory, at 5-4 and 6-5. But she was better in the tiebreaker, and when No. 8-seeded Pegula missed a backhand to close the contest, Swiatek ran toward her guest box, flung her white racket away and yelled.

This marked Swiatek's eighth win in a row against an opponent ranked in the top 10, all in straight sets.

"I'm super proud of myself. My goal, basically, is to be consistent," she said. "I remember when I was an underdog and every match like that was surreal. Now it feels pretty routine."

Pegula, a 28-year-old whose parents own the NFL's Buffalo Bills and NHL's Buffalo Sabres, dropped to 0-4 in Grand Slam quarter-finals, including a trio of losses at that stage this season. All three of those came against a player atop the rankings at the time: Ash Barty at the Australian Open in January and then Swiatek at Roland Garros and now.

Sabalenka survives

Swiatek will face No. 6 seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus in Thursday's semifinals. The other women's semifinal is No. 5 Ons Jabeur against No. 17 Caroline Garcia, who eliminated 18-year-old American Coco Gauff on Tuesday.

Of the four players remaining in the bracket, only Swiatek already owns a major championship. And only Sabalenka, who defeated two-time Slam runner-up Karolina Pliskova 6-1, 7-6 (4) earlier Wednesday, ever has been this far in New York previously; she lost in the semifinals last year.

"I'm ready for it," Sabalenka said. "I'm ready for another fight."

Sabalenka was bounced from the semifinals at Wimbledon last year by Pliskova. Sabalenka made sure from the start that this one would be different, racing to a 4-0 lead.

This year, Sabalenka could not participate at the All England Club, because all players from Russia and Belarus were banned over the invasion of Ukraine. Sabalenka spent that fortnight in Miami, practicing and preparing for a return to the tour.

"It was a tough time, especially when I was working out in the gym and there was Wimbledon playing on the TV," Sabalenka said. "I was always turned it off, because I couldn't watch it."

With files from The Canadian Press

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