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La résurrection de Stefanos Tsitsipas Jannik Sinner, on top of the world

Carlos Alcaraz defeats Yannik Sinner in 5 sets (6/3 6/7 6/7 7/5 6/3) in the US Open quarter finals on Thursday, the 8th of August.  

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This fourth encounter between the two men will go down in history as the latest game of the US Open. Won by Alcaraz around 3am after 5:15 hours of play; this match will be remembered for many years to come. Considering the surreal show put on by the two young players, tennis fans can only hope that this rivalry will last.

Hour after hour, the suspense did nothing but grow in the Arthur Ashe Stadium. Transformed into a Coliseum, it hosted a gladiatorial fight during which everyone gave blow for blow.

The first set paved the way for this fierce battle. Despite 3 breaks, including one in favor of Yannik Sinner; Carlos Alcaraz dominated the game. He won the first set: 6/3. During the first hour, the main lines of the match took shape. On one hand, the 4th player in the world showed his explosiveness, his defensive abilities and his ball accuracy. On the other hand, the young Italian unveiled difficulties to serve as well as his wish to come forward, to take the ball early and his ball power.

The second set began in favor of Yannik Sinner who didn’t seem to care about the lost of the first one. The Italian managed to break in the third game: 2/1, serve to follow. He kept his advantage until 5/3. The ninth game can be considered as a breaking point. Alcaraz won two massive rallies which led him into a new dynamic. He scored a love game before taking back his break: 5/5. Yannik Sinner put an end to Alcaraz’ 5 minutes of strokes of genius by saving three break points. The Italian took back the lead of the set by winning the tiebreak 9-7. To be able to win the second set, the current 13th in the world had to show a sensational level of tennis: rises to the net, a brilliant reading of his opponent and amazing ball trajectories.

The third set went on in the continuity of the previous one. The two players fought tooth and nail. Each rally looked like a match point. They both showed unbelievable points: behing-the-back shot, runs to the net, winners on the lines and passing shots from another planet. Despite two breaks on each side, no player took a real advantage. This set ended up by a masterful tiebreak from Sinner: 7-0. While the Italian rose his level of play at the best possible time, the young Spanish caved in. In this high-tension moment, mental strength prevailed.  

The ruthless fight between the two players continued. The six first games lasted. One after the other, Yannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz were under pressure when they served. At 3/3, the set seemed to change physiognomy. Sinner played his best tennis. He broke Alcaraz and confirmed in the next game. The Italian had to serve for the match: 5/4. While he was in control of the game, his nerves failed him. He fell back into his ways – two double faults; and did unusual errors. After saving a match point, Alcaraz flipped the trend of this set: 5/5. A few moments of doubt in Sinner’s head were enough to boost his opponent. Backed in a corner, ‘Carlitos’ showed an out of this world mental strength to win this fourth set: 7/5.

The deciding set was a bit more classic. As the rest of the match, it was tied. Yannik Sinner broke first in the fifth game: 3/2, serve to follow. However, he didn’t manage to confirm. Carlos Alcaraz won the Italian’s serve: 5/4. He only had to serve for the match. The 19 years old young man handled his nerves. His first match point was the right one. Even though the two players played some crazy points, they took less risks than in the previous sets. This holding back might have caused Sinner’s loss. As he rose fewer times at the net, he let Alcaraz dictate the rallies.

This encounter, which amazed the entire tennis world, is without a doubt the greatest match of this year’s US Open. The leaders of tomorrow’s tennis showed the extent of their talent: mental strength from another planet, technical accuracy, striking intensity, creativeness and a rare touch of the ball. Even if the victory goes to Alcaraz, Sinner’s merit is no less.

The Spanish prodigy will face Frances Tiafoe in the semi-finals. Having beaten Andrey Rublev (7/6 7/6 6/4) in only 2h36, the American is in an ideal situation. Will Carlos Alcaraz have recovered after his feat? Answer at Friday’s night session.

Marnie Abbou

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