Felix Auger-Aliassime advanced to the US Open semifinals on Tuesday when Spanish teen Carlos Alcaraz retired with a leg injury. The Canadian 12th seed led 6-3, 6-1 when Alcaraz halted the match, advancing him to his first Grand Slam semi-finals. Alcaraz, the youngest US Open quarter-finalist in 58 years, was forced to retire because of a right abductor injury. Meanwhile, Auger will face second seed Daniil Medvedev in the semi-finals on Saturday. Russian Medvedev overcame Dutchman Botic Van de Zandschulp 6-3, 6-0, 4-6, 7-5 to reach his third straight semi-final at Flushing Meadows on Tuesday.
Auger, the 21-year-old, became the youngest male player to reach the last four at the US Open since 2009 champion Juan Martin del Potro, and the first man from his country to reach the US Open semifinals in tournament history.
“It’s an amazing milestone,” Auger-Aliassime said.
“It’s been a fantastic tournament for me. Amazing, I’m happy I’m through and I’ll try to win the next one.”
Alcaraz showed no signs of distress as Auger won the first set but after the Canadian broke to open the second the Spaniard slumped. During the first changeover of the second set, an ATP Physiotherapist visited Alcaraz and had a lengthy discussion with the 18-year-old. One game later Alcaraz retired.
The Spanish teenager had won back-to-back five-setters against Greek Stefano Tsitsipas and German Peter Gojowczyk to make it to the last-8. Alcaraz stepped onto the court with both legs heavily strapped. Maybe his body was feeling the fatigue as he committed 16 unforced errors in 13 games. The booming groundstrokes which often found their mark earlier in the fortnight fell into the net on Tuesday.
“It’s really tough to end a great tournament like this,” said Alcaraz. “I had no choice. First of all I have to take care of my body. I didn’t feel good to still playing, so I had to retire.”
Auger looked surprised by Alcaraz’s retirement as the match was going pretty well until the Spaniard called the physio.
“No, I didn’t [know anything was wrong] until he called the physio. I don’t know what happened, clearly, but it’s unfortunate. I didn’t see it coming. He’s such a good player. You guys were amazing again tonight,” Auger-Aliassime told the Arthur Ashe Stadium crowd.
“I thought we were putting on a good show.”
Meanwhile, Auger has joined 19-year-old compatriot Leylah Fernandez, who booked her spot in the women’s last four in the day by beating Elina Svitolina.
“It’s great for Canada. It’s great for Quebec,” said Auger-Aliassime.
“I never thought a day like this would come. Both a little girl and a little boy from Montreal, both at the same time in the semi-finals of the US Open. It’s special. I hope the people back home appreciate the moment also. It’s great but it would be amazing if we were both in a final,” he added.