Photo: camerawork usa
Félix Auger-Aliassime advanced to his first Grand Slam semi-final after his opponent, teen sensation Carlos Alcaraz of Spain, was forced to retire from the match midway through the second set due to an undisclosed injury.
Up until that point, Auger-Aliassime was playing terrific tennis, breaking the Spaniard in the first and second set, and didn’t allow himself to be broken. It was the first meeting between the youngsters and it couldn’t have happened on a bigger stage – under the lights of Arthur Ashe Stadium in the US Open quarter-finals. The match ended at 6-3, 3-1 (ret.) in favour of the Canadian.
Both players were hot heading into tonight’s clash. Alcaraz upset World No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas in the third round, while Auger-Aliassime took down great players such as Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut and American Frances Tiafoe. Tonight’s battle was expected to be a close affair with a lot of winners and firepower from both sides of the court.
In the first set, the servers cruised through their service games – up until a brilliant sixth game from the Canadian.
On break point, a fresher Auger-Aliassime was able to make Alcaraz run from left to right during an extended rally, eventually catching the Spaniard flat-footed as he sent a cross-court forehand that Alcaraz could not return.
Auger-Aliassime continued to dominate on his serve, but almost slipped up in the ninth game as he was trying to serve out the set. A couple of double faults from the Canadian gave the Spaniard three break point chances. However, Auger-Aliassime remained unfazed, saved all three break opportunities, and then got the crowd on their feet after clinching the set.
The second set was more of the same for the Canadian. He looked brilliant on his serves, dictated most rallies, and was simply playing the better game.
Unfortunately, in the fourth game, Alcaraz had to call it after suffering an injury at some point during the match.
Despite the match ending earlier than both players would have liked, Auger-Aliassime will be happy with his performance. He had eight aces, won 79 per cent of points on first serves, and saved all three break points he faced.
Auger-Aliassime now joins compatriot Leylah Fernandez in the semi-finals and will play World No. 2 Daniil Medvedev for a spot in the US Open final.