Saturday/ let’s go, Carlos!

Let’s Go, Carlos! clap-clap-clap
Let’s Go, Carlos! clap-clap-clap
Let’s Go, Carlos! clap-clap-clap
– Rowdy Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd, chanting during the Alcaraz-Tsitsipas tennis match at the US Open, Friday


World No 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas (23, Greece) was up against 18-year old sensation Carlos Alcaraz (Spain) and the spectators on Friday. (The crowd may have been a little tired of Tsitsipas’ lengthy bathroom breaks between sets. Andy Murray had said on Monday he had lost his respect for Tsitsipas because of it).

The epic match went 4 hrs 11 mins and the full five sets. I watched all of it.
Alcaraz was on fire during the first set. Alcarez 6-3.
He lost the second set. Tsitsipas 6-4.
Alcaraz then trailed 2-5 in the third set. Tsitsipas had 40-15, serving, and yet, Alcarez wrested it away from him, and the next two games. Level at 5-5. The set went to a tiebreaker, which Alcarez won. Alcarez 7-6 (7-2).
Alcarez must have been drained mentally at that point, because he lost the fourth set 0-6. Tsitsipas 6-0. Never mind.
The fifth set went to a tie-breaker again, which Alcarez took 7-5. Alcarez 7-6 (7-2).

Alcarez def. Tsitsipas 6-3 4-6  77-62  0-6  77-65

Update Tue Sept. 7: The young Alcaraz made it all the way to the quarter-finals. Unfortunately, he had to retire today against Felix Auger-Aliassime because of a leg muscle injury.
Fourth Round: Alcaraz def. Peter Gojowczyk (32, Germany) 5-7 6-1 5-7 6-2 6-0.
Quarter-final: Felix Auger-Aliassime (21, Canada) def. Alcaraz 6-3 6-1 (retired).

Alcaraz about to put away a backhand volley in the first set against Tsitsipas on Friday. When I started playing tennis, my coach would say that it takes ’10 years’ to become a tennis player, and ‘another 10’ to become a champion. Well, that was 50 years ago and I guess we live in internet time now. 
Alcaraz at 18 has a mature game with a great serve, powerful & flawless groundstrokes, a deft drop shot touch, and great volleys. He is already a champion. He won the Croatia Open in July. He qualified for all four 2021 Grand Slam tournaments and won his first round matches in all of them. His coach is former world No 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero (41, Spain).
[Video still from ESPN+ broadcast]
The Alcaraz forearm shot that is a bazooka, shooting a tennis ball back at 90 mph. His backhand is double-handed.
[Photo by Rhea Nall/USTA, posted on usopen.org]
Match point* for Alcaraz (Alcaraz is up 6-3 in the 5th set tiebreaker; first to 7 wins). He lost this point, the first of his three match points. Score 6-4. During the next point, he hit a drop shot. With Tsitsipas up at the net, Alcaraz lobbed the ball deep. It was out by a hair. Score now 6-5. Second match point gone. The final point saw them exchange 9 shots, and then an inside-out forehand winner from Alcaraz got him the match after 4 hrs.

*Match point means one of the two players needs ONE POINT to win the game, with that win the set, and with that, win the match. In this case, leading 6-3 in the tiebreaker, Alcaraz could lose the point, but would have another match point at 6-4. He could lose that point as well, and would have yet another match point at 6-5. (Let’s get mathematical. So up at 6-3 in the tiebreaker means you have triple match point. Up 6-2 would be quadruple match point for you. Up 6-1 would be quintuple match point, and just to complete the math, being up 6-0 would be sextuple match point.)  
[Video still from ESPN+ broadcast]

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