Carlos Alcaraz reaches first grand slam semifinal after marathon, late-night finish against Jannik Sinner
Carlos Alcaraz had to dig deep after falling short in the first-round of the French Open. The right-hander, who had defeated Philipp Kohlschreiber and Janko Tipsarevic on his way to the semifinals, dropped three sets in the third and fifth-set tiebreakers. But a late three-set win over Jannik Sinner ensured his place in the semifinals Sunday night. Alcaraz, who had come over from Spain, was making his debut at the French Open but, with the victory, became only the second Spaniard, along with Marcel Granollers, to reach No. 1 in the men’s rankings in the Open Era (since 1973).
It took him a while to get there but he finally did in the fourth round, when he became the ninth Spaniard to reach the final 15 at Roland Garros. He said he was surprised when the match was suspended by the rain and he then got into the match with a big run.
“I’m more used to match points and I saw that this one was different,” said the 24-year-old former no. 1 in Spain. “In the semifinals, it depends on the match. I played my own game and I had to fight. I tried to put up a fight but it was a little bit easier than expected.”
His big win meant he’s now won two straight tournaments, which is a remarkable achievement given some of what went with this one. He lost in the semifinals of both the Davis Cup quarterfinals and the Olympics in Beijing (in a 5-set tiebreaker). He lost his first two matches in the French Open and then, after a one-week rest to recover, he needed to play the next nine in three days to get into the semifinals.