Carlos Alcaraz reaches first grand slam semifinal after marathon, late-night finish against Jannik Sinner
On Wednesday night, Carlos Alcaraz finally reached his first grand slam semifinal, facing an opponent he’d never beaten before. Sinner was the fourth-seeded Spaniard to make the U.S. Open’s four-man semifinal. Alcaraz hadn’t reached another Grand Slam semifinal at the U.S. Open since 2013 when he lost in the second round to Dominic Thiem, a tournament he’s won five times. But he wanted this. “The more you beat the better. I don’t know why,” he told me.
What he does know is how hard it is to take down one of the most beloved players in the sport. “I had never met Jannik before the tournament and I had to walk up to him and play tennis again in his home in New York,” Alcaraz said. “He’s a legend and just a champion. He’s not the best player in the world, of course. He’s not even ranked in the top 100. But when you play against him, it’s not about who’s the best or who is the best. It’s about who’s the best that they can be.”
Jannik Sinner, who’s ranked at 147th in the world, did his best to beat Alcaraz. But Alcaraz won most of the points on serve, and Sinner’s backhand could not get going. The crowd at Flushing Meadows, where Alcaraz played his first Grand Slam final, was on its feet when Alcaraz won the point. It was the loudest moment of his match at the U.S. Open and by far the most anticipated. There was a reason for that: Sinner was wearing his signature red shirt, which he said “definitely doesn