Carlos Alcaraz has cemented his status as the next big thing in men’s tennis with an extraordinary US Open victory over former champion, Marin Cilic.
Alcaraz booked his spot in the quarter-finals after claiming an epic 6-4 3-6 6-4 4-6 6-3 win against Cilic, in gruelling tussle that ended well after 2am in New York.
With Rafa Nadal knocked out in a shock fourth round upset, Alcaraz could claim the World No.1 ranking if he goes all the way at Flushing Meadows.
The Spanish teen came out of the blocks strongly against the 2014 champion, in what was the final match on the Arthur Ashe Stadium centre court on Monday night (Tuesday AEST).
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Alcaraz, 19, showcased his full array of shot-making and incredible athleticism against the Croatian veteran, in a scintillating encounter that had the crowd on the edge of their seats.
One point at 4-2 up in the first set demonstrated the Spaniard’s extraordinary court coverage and defensive ability as he somehow managed to stay alive in a brutal baseline rally with Cilic.
Alcaraz was on the stretch on numerous occasions to first return the big-hitting Croat’s serve, and then to repel his ferocious groundstrokes.
The 19-year-old eventually wore his opponent down enough to force his way into the net, before clinching the epic point with a stunning diving volley.
Alcaraz proved that he had plenty of other tricks up his sleeve with another sensational effort later in the match, when he somehow managed to fashion a winner from his shoelaces.
The Spaniard came into the net only to be greeted by a vicious Cilic return that landed at his feet.
Remarkably, Alcaraz was able to shift his body to get a racquet on the ball and come up with an unorthodox drop shot that left Cilic stranded.
The two moments of genius from the prodigiously talented teen left the tennis world in awe.