Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz reached his first major semi-final after beating Italy’s Jannik Sinner in a US Open thriller which ended at a record latest time of 2.50am in New York.
Alcaraz, 19, saved a match point before clinching an epic 6-3 6-7 (7-9) 6-7 (0-7) 7-5 6-3 win over 11th seed Sinner.
The third seed will face Frances Tiafoe on Friday for a spot in Sunday’s final.
The American, 24, also plays in a first major semi-final after his 7-6 (7-3) 7-6 (7-0) 6-4 win over Andrey Rublev.
“I still don’t know how I did it. The level I played of high quality tennis. It’s unbelievable,” said Alcaraz, who is the youngest man to reach a Grand Slam semi-final since Rafael Nadal at the 2005 French Open.
“I always say you have to believe in yourself all the time. Hope is the last thing you use. I believed in myself, my game.”
A first-time Grand Slam champion is already guaranteed in the men’s singles at Flushing Meadows, with Norway’s Casper Ruud and Russia’s Karen Khachanov contesting the other semi-final.
Alcaraz and 23-year-old Ruud also have a shot of becoming the new world number one as an intriguing tournament nears a conclusion.
Tiafoe joked after his win – which finished more than 10 hours before the last quarter-final finally ended on Thursday morning – he hoped the match between Sinner and Alcaraz would be a “marathon and super-long”.
His wish came true after an extraordinary night on Arthur Ashe Stadium.
Alcaraz showed quality, resilience and boundless energy to beat Sinner in a captivating contest.
Full of powerful and precise hitting, incredible shot making and jaw-dropping athleticism, the match between two of the sport’s brightest talents surpassed even the already-lofty expectations.
After missing five set points in the second set, unable to serve out the third and stopping Sinner taking a match point in the fourth, Alcaraz sealed victory after five hours and 15 minutes with his first match point.
The teenager collapsed to the court in elation, covering his face and breathing heavily as he lay down to process what had just happened.
He peeled himself off the surface to share a warm hug with Sinner, who walked around the net to congratulate his opponent.
An exhausting battle ended in front of a healthy number of dedicated fans in the early hours and Alcaraz celebrated wildly with his incredulous supporters, even giving a trainer each to two of them.