It was, by almost half an hour, the last finish in the history of the tournament. Alcaraz, 19, dropped to the ground and put his hand to his face in disbelief as he sealed a match point after coming dangerously close to defeat in the previous set.
The 6-3 6-7 6-7 7-5 6-3 victory lasted five hours and 15 minutes; it was Alcaraz’s second straight finish at the US Open following their five-set victory over Marin Cilic in the previous round.
Sinner was serving for the match at 5-4 in the fourth set, but Alcaraz fought back winning all three games in a row to force a decider – saving match point in the process.
The 21-year-old Sinner then led by a break in the fifth set as well, only for Alcaraz to again refuse to bow. He becomes the youngest Grand Slam semi-finalist since his compatriot Rafael Nadal in 2005.
“I always say you have to believe in yourself all the time,” Alcaraz said during his on-court interview. “Hope is the last thing you lose… I have to stay in the game, try to stay calm, but it’s hard to stay calm at this time.”