Carlos Alcaraz reaches first grand slam semifinal after marathon, late-night finish against Jannik Sinner
SATURDAY, DEC. 13
When the lights came up and the players took their seats Sunday night, it was obvious that things had changed in the last hour. The first major semifinal of the year was in the record book for the most time spent on the court and the most time spent on the bench, as well as the grand slam debut of the reigning U.S. Open champion.
The game had been as close as anyone could expect, with match points coming up for the third and fourth sets at 2-2 and 6-5 when the American had a clear lead. But after a 5-4 comeback by the Polish, a seventh-grader from Cincinnati in a junior world’s semifinal had done what no team in men’s tennis can do. He had taken a two-game lead that would have made tennis history.
The victory was even more stunning because of the circumstances.
Sinner, the winner of three grand slams and in the finals of a fourth, was one of the players to have just come off a grueling, 11-hour, 6:15 a.m. flight in an overnight sleeper, which was to have taken him from his home here in San Francisco to the WTA event, which was a 4-hour, 30-minute drive from his hotel in Cincinnati.
To make matters worse, the match didn’t start on his night off. It started when a reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle, Mary Ann Doane, told the story of how Sinner left his hotel room without putting on a shirt, saying he needed to get a beer from the bar.
Sinner said he’d go back when he’d finished his beer.
Doane asked Sinner’s agent, Dan McCoy, whether Sinner would