At 18 years old, Spanish tennis player Carlos Alcaraz and Canadian Leylah Fernandez confirmed on Sunday as the great sensations of this US Open, qualifying for the quarterfinals, which Garbiñe Muguruza and Diego Schwartzman could not reach.
On Friday, Alcaraz and Fernandez had caused an earthquake at the New York Grand Slam by eliminating third-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas and defending champion Naomi Osaka, respectively.
Converted into the new jewel of Spanish tennis, Alcaraz emerged victorious on Sunday from a new battle against the German Peter Gojowczyk and became the youngest male tennis player to reach the US Open quarters in the Open era (since 1968) and, towards behind, the earliest since the Brazilian Thomaz Koch in 1963.
“They are good data, it impresses a little,” said the Spaniard about his achievement. “But this doesn’t mean anything if you don’t get to where the best in history have gone.”
“I am an ambitious boy who always wants more,” he stressed.
The one labeled “New Nadal” came back twice to Gojowczyk to win 5-7, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2 and 6-0 in three hours and 31 minutes of an exciting game in which he returned to count on the push of the New York public.
Alcaraz’s next opponent, number 55 in the world, will be Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime, number 15 in the ATP, who beat American Frances Tiafoe in four sets.
In her turn, Leylah Fernandez also showed that her win over Osaka was no accident and dumped another former US Open champion and former world number one, Germany’s Angelique Kerber.
Fernandez, who will turn 19 on Monday, rallied a set down to beat Kerber 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-2.
The Canadian, with an Ecuadorian father and a mother of Filipino origins, will face in her first quarters of a Grand Slam the Ukrainian Elina Svitolina, bronze medalist at the Tokyo Olympics, who defeated the Romanian Simona Halep in two sets.
– Muguruza crashes with controversy –
The Spanish-Venezuelan Garbiñe Muguruza again encountered the barrier of the round of 16 of the Open when she fell to the Czech Barbora Krejcikova 6-3 and 7-6 (7/4) in a match with a controversial ending.
Muguruza left the center court of Flushing Meadows with gestures of great annoyance after Krejcikova stopped the Spanish comeback after a passage through the locker room in a medical timeout.
The reigning Roland Garros champion was treated for apparent respiratory problems and, at the end of the match, was helped to retire by a doctor and a coach.
“I don’t really know what happened, but I couldn’t breathe. I started to feel dizzy and the whole world was shaking. It had never happened to me before,” Krejcikova explained in statements released by the WTA.
The elimination is a great disappointment for the Spanish born in Caracas, who was one of the most illustrious names of the eighths that the current champion, Naomi Osaka, nor the current number one, Ashleigh Barty had not reached.
The Spanish lost the first set and was 4-0 against in the second but staged a spectacular comeback to chain five games in a row.
With Muguruza leading 6-5, Krejcikova called for medical assistance and retired for eight minutes to the locker room. Upon her return, the number nine in the WTA ranking won seven points in a row to force the ‘tiebreak’ and lead 3-0 as Muguruza went from astonishment to anger.
Her defeat sealed, the Spaniard coldly greeted her rival at the net while Krejcikova collapsed in the chair for a few minutes and was helped off the pitch.
“Between players they know a bit how to behave at certain times and, yes, I was not very happy at the end of the game,” Muguruza said.
For her part, Belarusian Aryna Sabalenka, number two in the WTA, defeated Belgian Elise Mertens 6-4 and 6-1.
– Schwartzman falls short –
Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman, 11th seed, came close to another feat, coming back two sets against but ultimately succumbing to Botic van de Zandschulp from the Netherlands.
Van de Zandschulp, number 117 in the ATP, beat Schwartzman, 6-3, 6-4, 5-7, 5-7 and 6-1 in four hours and 19 minutes.
Schwartzman, who had not given up a set in the first three rounds, was overtaken by an opponent who comes from the qualifying phase and who, without any title in his record, has already left out two members of the ATP top-20 .
Van de Zandschulp’s next cross will be an even bigger litmus test against Daniil Medvedev, one of the great candidates for the title.
The second-seeded Russian overwhelmed Evans 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 and reaches the New York quarter-finals without giving up a single set.
“Now I just want to get to the final again to have something else to remember, and hopefully something better,” Medvedev said of his loss in the 2019 US Open final to Rafa Nadal.
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.