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Spanish teenager Alcaraz clinched a spellbinding battle of the young guns against Italian Jannik Sinner to reach his first Grand Slam semi-final at the US Open in a match that lasted five hours and 15 minutes.

The Spaniard had come to the match as the underdog considering his previous matches with the Italian who is arguably the brightest young tennis talent. They both met twice recently in the fourth round at Wimbledon and then at the ATP tournament in Umag, Croatia with Sinner winning both matches.

The atmosphere in New York was charged in anticipation of the intense encounter and obviously it did show in the early play by the 21 year-old Italian in the opening set, nervously double –faulting three times in his opening service game. Although he quickly broke back, the Spanish was constantly maintaining his hitting shots with greater conviction and deservedly won the first set.

The second set was arguably the best of the tournament so far as some pundits applauded the near excellent performance from both teenagers. Sinner had moved into an early lead, executing his flat hitting, giving him confidence way through to his advantage until he came to serve at 5-4, when Alcaraz broke back.

In the next game, Sinner was under the shadow of the 19 year-old as the Spaniard was poised to take the set, he moved to 0-40 in Sinner’s next service but the Italian was brilliant to produce some clutching serve when he needed it most. Now! With Sinner at game point to force a tie- break and another excellent serve, Alcaraz showed a master class as he pulled off the shot of the tournament, smartly wrapping his racket around his back to send the flying low over the net and pass his opponent with a winner.

At this point it was clear the match was going to be a marathon with quick responses from both players, surprisingly the reactions from fans at the Arthur Ashe Stadium was unbelievable a show of teenage masters. Sinners levelled the contest, he had earlier dumped Alcaraz forehand into the net on set point, calmly he held on. Alcaraz had an earlier opportunity too for a tie break but Sinner saved it.

Alcaraz would have halted his ambition if he had not taken the second set, same could be said of the third set where he led twice and oversight, Sinner produced a miracle back to the wall. After breaking his opponent when he served at it 6-5, Sinner won seven straight points to take the tie break.

With tenacity and youthful reserve the fourth set was driving the match to conclusion, Sinner twice led by a break. But this time Alcaraz was pinching a set, saving a match point at 5-4 and winning the final four games to force a decider. Sinner struck first but Alcaraz pressured to clinch the battle with an ace.  Achieving a milestone of reaching the semi-final in his quest for the US Open title winning 6-3 6-7 (7) 6-7 (0) 7-5 6-3.

After the match that lasted five hours and 15 minutes, a record for latest time finish and second longest in US Open history. Alcaraz praised the Italian as a great player and repeatedly said he couldn’t believe he came out victorious considering the high quality of tennis displayed by both of them in the contest for a semi-final place.  

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