Carlos Alcaraz reaches first grand slam semifinal after marathon, late-night finish against Jannik Sinner
Carlos Alcaraz reached first grand slam semifinal after marathon, late-night finish against Jannik Sinner
By David D’Arcy
There was a scene you will never see again at the ATP Cup event in Cincinnati.
A crowd of thousands of spectators and press pack in the city laid on their towels and went to sleep after a late-night round of the tournament, when no matches were played until 1.30am.
But for the next 12 hours, no one was allowed to drift back to sleep, as one of the most dramatic and exhilarating games of 2012 was played in the night between Argentina’s Carlos Alcaraz and Latvia’s Jannik Sinner.
The games began at 2.30am, which was when all action finally began.
It looked like an extended practice session at the top level, although the early exchanges between two players with such contrasting styles and styles of game that the match could have been played under lights.
The intensity in the first half-hour was not what it has been for many matches in this tournament, when the top players go for a full-tournament five-set set rather than two-game sets.
It was more like a tennis match between players fighting for a spot in the final at the Australian Open.
They were both aggressive, and they both started out with attacking shots. But when they were playing to their capabilities, they began to hit the ball flat, and their opponents began to find their own limits in the latter part of the first set.
Eventually, the first set was set, and neither was close to reaching a set-defeating position.
Alcaraz began the second set strongly, and was in the process of breaking Sinner before he hit aces to make the break seem more realistic.
There were more times when Alcaraz was hitting flat shots, and when he was hitting to his strength, Sinner went for the same to try to stop the run of Alcaraz.
On an early break, Alcaraz received a wide, flat return, to the delight of a packed hall.
There was a second break, where Alcaraz once again received a wide, flat return. Another break came, and Sinner, playing well, was able