Greek sensation Stefanos Tsitsipas suffered a shock fifth-set tie-break loss against Carlos Alcaraz in the third round of the US Open. The 18-year-old twice led Tsitsipas by a set before prevailing 6-3, 4-6, 7-6, 0-6, 7-6 to set up his first Grand Slam fourth-round appearance. Prior to the tournament, Tsitsipas was considered by many as one of the challengers for the final Grand Slam of the season. However, the task did not go as planned for the Greek player. He was understandably devastated with the defeat. Still, he did not let the disappointment come in his way, while praising the Spanish teenager. “He can be a contender for Grand Slam titles,” Tsitsipas said after the match. “He has the game to be there.”
Alcaraz struck a stunning forehand on the last point of the match and fell to the court in celebration. That strike — his 61st winner of the match — was enough to show the fearless attitude he displayed throughout the evening inside Arthur Ashe Stadium. “[His] ball speed was incredible. I’ve never seen someone hit the ball so hard. [It] took time to adjust. [It] took time to kind of develop my game around his game style,” Stefanos Tsitsipas said. “It’s one of these matches and one of these feelings where you pick up [your level] at some point of the match, you feel like you’re in control, and it doesn’t really go your way at the end.
“It’s kind of bitter, especially after such an incredible fourth set by my side, dominating, being just so aggressive, not dwelling on the past. It was a great fourth set. I felt like he played the fifth one completely the way he played the first set basically, careless, going for every single shot. I have never seen someone play such a good fifth set, honestly.”
After losing two of the three sets, Stefanos Tsitsipas rolled through the fourth set in 27 minutes. Alcaraz, who received treatment on his upper leg before the decider, suddenly found himself in a difficult scenario. Undeterred by the disappointment of losing the fourth set, the 18-year-old bounced back in some style.
“He dealt with it really well. That’s something that’s going to [help him] reach the top and make him the player that he is. It was supposed to be my match,” Stefanos Tsitsipas said. “Today was a match that I shouldn’t have lost. I can only learn from it.”
“He’s young. He fought, he never gave up. I had my opportunities in the third set, lost them,” Tsitsipas said. “I feel if I would have won that third set, I don’t know if [the] psychology would be the same and the attitude. You saw what happened in the fourth. I was literally flying.”
Carlos Alcaraz lost the fourth set without winning a single game, but he overcame the disappointment to win the fifth set in a thrilling fashion. “I was returning pretty deep, applying pressure on my returns. I don’t know how much harder I needed to hit my return in order to apply pressure,” Stefanos Tsitsipas said.
“But he [seemed] to be dealing with it really well, comfortably, hitting winners after the first return of mine, just being so much in control, which was surprising, especially in the fifth set. I didn’t expect him to raise his level so much, especially after having lost the fourth set this way. He was a completely different player.”