New York acclaimed a new tennis star as 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz stunned third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas to reach the fourth round of the US Open.
The Spaniard has already been hailed as Rafael Nadal’s successor and he seized his chance on the big stage in superb fashion with a 6-3 4-6 7-6 (7-2) 0-6 7-6 (7-5) victory.
Arthur Ashe Stadium witnessed a rollercoaster encounter, with Alcaraz pegged back having led by a set and 3-0 but then fighting back from 5-2 down to win the third set on a tie-break.
Tsitsipas was booed when he headed off court for another bathroom break, although this one was swift at less than four minutes, and the Greek looked poised to turn the match around when he swept through the fourth set.
But Alcaraz was not finished, and the teenager turned on the style again in the decider before coming through the final tie-break after four hours and six minutes.
In an on-court interview, Alcaraz said: “I think without this crowd I haven’t the possibility to win the match.
“I was down at the beginning of the fourth set so thank you to the crowd for pushing me up in the fifth set.
“It’s an incredible feeling for me. This victory means a lot to me. It’s the best match of my career, the best win, to beat Stefanos Tsitsipas is a dream come true for me.”
Defeat ended a chastening week for Tsitsipas, who is used to being the popular young star but has found himself the centre of a storm over sportsmanship concerning his bathroom breaks and is now heading home prematurely.
Alcaraz is the youngest man to reach the last 16 in New York since Michael Chang and Pete Sampras in 1989, and he should have high hopes of going further, with unseeded German Peter Gojowczyk next.
Earlier, Russian Daniil Medvedev ripped through third-round opponent Pablo Andujar 6-0 6-4 6-3, his third win in under two hours at this year’s US Open.
The world No.2 held the unseeded Spaniard to five points in the first set, putting up just three unforced errors in a stretch of superb play in his bid for a maiden major title two years after he lost in the final to Rafael Nadal.
The Russian has yet to drop a set at Flushing Meadows this year and showed scarce few moments of vulnerability on Friday.
He recovered from a double fault in the 10th game of the second set with a pair of aces and fired off 34 winners to Andujar’s 16 across the entire match.
“The main positive is to win in three sets because Pablo was fighting good,” said Medvedev, who clinched his fourth Masters 1000 title last month in Toronto.
“I was playing good and really happy with my level.”
No.11 seed Diego Schwartzman also advanced, beating Alex Molcan 6-4 6-3 6-3.