New York: Carlos Alcaraz of Spain continued his march towards becoming the youngest World No. 1 in ATP Rankings in the early hours of Tuesday morning, when he clawed past 2014 champion Marin Cilic in the fourth round of the US Open.
Alcaraz outlasted the former World No. 3 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals at Flushing Meadows for the second consecutive year. He plays Jannik Sinner of Italy for a place in the semifinal.
The 19-year-old also became youngest man to reach back-to-back US Open quarterfinals since Australian Lew Hoad and Ken Rosewall in 1952 and 1953.
“Honestly, I have no idea,” Alcaraz said of how he won the match. “It was pretty, pretty tough at the beginning of the fifth set being a]break down. But Marin was playing unbelievable. I believe in myself all the time. I would say 100 per cent of the energy I put in the fifth set was thanks to you. It was unbelievable.”
With Daniil Medvedev and Rafael Nadal losing over the past two days, the stakes have been raised for Alcaraz in New York. Not only is the teen pursuing his maiden Grand Slam title — he is also trying to ascend to the pinnacle of men’s tennis.
If the Spaniard reaches the final and Casper Ruud does not, Alcaraz will climb to World No. 1 on the Monday after the US Open. If Ruud makes the final and Alcaraz does not, the Norwegian will ascend to the top spot.
If both men make the championship match, the winner will depart with the trophy and World No. 1. Alcaraz is up to No. 2 in the ATP Live Rankings.