From the high of upsetting one of the best players in the world to the low of failing to finish a U.S. Open quarterfinal match.
Carlos Alcaraz, the 18-year-old Spaniard who became one of the biggest stories of the U.S. Open after his victory over No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas in the third round, ran the gamut of emotions. He saw his wild ride come to a crashing halt Tuesday night when he had to retire in the second set of his quarterfinal match against 12th-seeded Félix Auger-Aliassime at Arthur Ashe Stadium due to a right adductor injury. Trailing 6-3 and 3-1, Alcaraz couldn’t go on.
“It’s really tough to end a great tournament like this,” he said. “I mean, I had no choice.”
After playing long five-set matches in his previous two victories, the 55th-ranked Alcaraz felt the adductor prior to the match. Initially, he was able to manage the pain, but it worsened as the night went on.
“I didn’t feel good to [keep] playing, so I had to retire,” said Alcaraz, who became the youngest male player to reach the quarterfinals in Flushing in the Open era when he knocked off German Peter Gojowczyk in five sets in the fourth round.
Before his night was cut short, Alcaraz was struggling. He dropped the first set and was having trouble holding serve. He was broken twice, once in each set, and was down a break when he retired with nearly twice as many unforced errors (16) as winners (nine).
After holding serve to make it 2-1, Alcaraz got treatment from a trainer. But only a few points later, he called it quits.
“It has been a great tournament for me,” he said. “I have only positive feelings [of] this tournament. … These matches gave me a lot of experience. So I think this tournament made me mature a lot. I’m really happy to play in a first quarterfinal in a Grand Slam.”
Auger-Aliassime, meanwhile, moves on to the semifinals of a Grand Slam for the first time in his young career. The 21-year-old Canadian has been on the rise, reaching the quarterfinals at Wimbledon and fourth round of the Australian Open this year. Now he will get a shot at reaching the U.S. Open final when he meets No. 2 Daniil Medvedev on Friday.
“It’s an amazing milestone,” Auger-Aliassime said in his on-court interview. “It’s been a fantastic tournament for me. It’s a weird ending today. In the end, I’m through.I’ll have a chance to play on Friday against one of the best players in the world. It’s amazing.”
Earlier in the evening at Arthur Ashe Stadium, second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka cruised into the women’s semifinals with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over No. 8 Barbora Krejcikova. Sabalenka will meet 18-year-old phenom Leylah Fernandez next.