Carlos Alcaraz reaches first grand slam semifinal after marathon, late-night finish against Jannik Sinner
Carlos Alcaraz’s day unfolded in one of tennis’ greatest comebacks.
As his opponent, Jannik Sinner, tried to keep his nerve, Alcaraz fought back late in the match to win a thrilling 5-7, 7-6(5) 7-6 (6) victory on Sunday to reach the first grand slam semifinal of the year.
It was not a classic but it was one of the most memorable Grand Slam finals of the year.
The tournament was played at the same time as the Australian Open and the French Open, and the early morning started with the draw of the Australian Open, which saw a return of Roger Federer who had been defeated by Alcaraz in the first round.
The ATP Tour is also holding the ATP Finals in Indian Wells later this year.
Alcaraz made a comeback in the second round with a win over his Italian opponent, who had defeated him in the first round. He is making his first appearance in a grand slam final.
And he was looking to make a statement in the title match against Sinner, who had been playing well on Rod Laver Arena during the tournament.
“I was not sure how this match was going to go,” Sinner said. “I knew I was playing a very strong guy and I wanted to be first to come back. It is probably one of the best memories I have in my career.”
Alcaraz was coming so close to his first grand slam final in 20 years when he was beaten by 17-year-old Fernando Verdasco in the opening round at Wimbledon.
In that contest, he broke serve in the second game for his first win in five matches this year. He has been winning more matches at this level than Federer and Djokovic.
He broke Sinner in the second game of the match but kept his composure in the biggest game, a tiebreak, to hold on for the victory after Sinner served at 5-3 in the fifth game.
“I was just staying in the moment and trying to stay positive,” he said.
The match began with Alcaraz being the first to serve and in an exchange of serves, he held Sinner to 0-30 in the first game.