Bengaluru, September 8: Carlos Alcaraz edged Jannik Sinner 6-3, 6-7 (7-9), 6-7 (0-6), 7-5, 6-3 in the second-longest match of US Open history to enter the semifinals of the last Grand Slam of the year where he will take on giant-killer Frances Tiafoe.
In a classic quarterfinal encounter that shattered the record for latest finish in tournament history when play ended at 2.50 am local time, Alcaraz outlasted Sinner, saving one match point in the fourth set en route to his 5hrs, 15min triumph.
Before this tie, the latest finish in US Open history was 2.26 am, which has happened three times.
The battle was the second-longest match in US Open history after the Stefan Edberg vs Michael Chang semifinal tie at the 1992 edition which had lasted 5hrs and 26min.
That year Edberg went on to win the title and Alcaraz eyes an encore as the Spaniard is a step closer to claiming the ATP world No.1 ranking for the first time, which will be achieved if he wins the title, or even if he makes the final and fifth seed Casper Ruud does not.
The 19-year-old is not fond of comparisons to compatriot Rafael Nadal, but his victory means he becomes the youngest Grand Slam semifinalist since the 22-time major winner in 2005.
Little separated Alcaraz and Sinner who will both have won huge admiration, but the Italian's 63 unforced errors compared to the Spaniard's 38 looks to have made the difference.
Alcaraz fought back from a Sinner match point in the fourth set, rallying to force a fifth, where he broke the Italian 11th seed in the eighth game before serving it out for victory.
Alcaraz blew opportunities too, including five set points in the second set, while he failed to serve out the third set before Sinner won the tie-break 7-0 to take all the momentum into the fourth.
But the emerging Alcaraz showcased his doggedness even after falling a break behind in the fourth, to set up a semifinal date against 22nd seed Tiafoe, who has beaten Andrey Rublev and Nadal in his past two matches.
"Honestly, I still don't know how I did it," Alcaraz said in the on-court interview. "You've to believe in yourself. I believed in my game.
"It was really difficult to close out the match. I tried to stay calm, but it's difficult in the moment."
The fans inside the stadium arrived for a tennis match on Wednesday evening. By the time the clock struck midnight, that clash turned into a heavyweight fight.
Alcaraz, who lost twice against Sinner in the past three months, also levelled their rivalry at 2-2.
Earlier, Tiafoe celebrated a crazy win after his defeat of Andery Rublev saw him become the first American man to reach the US Open semifinals in 16 years.
Tiafoe had stunned Nadal and followed up that career-high by reaching the last four of a major for the first time.
Ninth seed Rublev, who has lost all six of his Grand Slam quarterfinals, stood in his way, but Tiafoe prevailed 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-0), 6-4 at Arthur Ashe Stadium.
The 24-year-old is the first male player from the US to reach a semifinal at Flushing Meadows since Andy Roddick in 2006.