Carlos Alcaraz reaches US Open quarterfinal with late-night win against Marin Cilic
LONDON — Carlos Alcaraz went ahead with a two-handed backhanded pass that took him clear around the court, and a few hours later, he was up two sets to one against Marin Cilic for the final rubber.
But he was there for the second time since the start of 2017 to face Cilic in the U.S. Open quarterfinals, and although the Croatian had a couple of break points he never hit them.
“I could have easily made it, but I didn’t,” Alcaraz said. “Marin played a very good match. He’s playing well, he plays his own game.
“He plays off the first serve, he plays his backhand well, and he played his first serve very well today. I really missed some points. I feel like my game, sometimes, wasn’t as good as some others, and my first serve, not as good as some others.”
Cilic opened with a 4-0 lead in the second set before Alcaraz had to endure a back-and-forth battle in the third. He lost a set on a tiebreaker and then had Cilic serve out in the final game of the match.
It all came down to Alcaraz in the fourth set, which Cilic won 5-7, 6-7(5) 6-4, 7-6(7) when the ninth-ranked American player needed just four points to extend his current 10-match winning streak.
“I think I’m getting closer and closer to the top of my game,” Alcaraz said. “The first time, I played very sloppy. I was lucky to be able to come back this time.”
He went on to beat German seventh-seeded Dominic Thiem in the fourth round, before being drawn against Cilic, who will also face Czech fifth-seeded Richard Gasquet in the fourth round on Sunday.
The 23rd-ranked Alcaraz came into this match with the longest winning streak in the history of the U.S. Open and after a couple of wild nights he now has