US Open 2021 – ‘He’s meant to be a champion’ – Teenager Carlos Alcaraz lauded after reaching quarter-finals

Carlos Alcaraz followed up his stunning upset of third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in a fifth set tie-break with another marathon match – and fine win – against Germany’s Peter Gojowczyk to reach the quarter-finals.

The 18-year-old recovered from a set down on two occasions to eventually triumph over Gojowczyk, 5-7 6-1 5-7 6-2 6-0, in hugely impressive fashion, particularly given his gruelling progress prior to the match.

The Spanish teenager secured his spot in his first Grand Slam quarter-final to become the youngest player in the Open era to reach the US Open men’s last eight.

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Eurosport tennis expert Alex Corretja believes his compatriot is a “kid with a veteran mentality” after coming through yet another five-set classic and showing huge heart and resolve to do so.

“What Carlos Alcaraz did in the fourth round is so impressive because the other day he enjoyed the match against Tsitsipas, he went for it, he played aggressive. He was having fun,” Corretja said in the Eurosport Cube.

“But today against Gojowczyk he needed to struggle, he needed to suffer, he needed to hang on in there, he needed to feel bad, he needed to defend.

“Today the ball wasn’t as fast because the conditions were much more humid and Gojowczyk was hitting the ball so hard and flat from the beginning so it was very difficult for him to find positions on the court and feel comfortable.

He is a kid with a veteran mentality and he showed today that he is meant to be a champion.

“What he did the other day was very difficult, but we have seen many young guys win a tough match and then the next day they are tired and they disappear.

“Today, Carlos was suffering like hell and it was a great example of accepting the situation, so I am super-pleased to see him through. He has a good chance of reaching the semi-finals but we need to see how he recovers mentally and physically from those big two five-setters.”

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Fellow Eurosport expert Mats Wilander also compared Alcaraz favourably to his hero, Rafael Nadal, following his epic win over the Greek earlier in the tournament.

“The forehand,” Eurosport expert Wilander said. “At 18 years old, his arm is so explosive. It is like Rafa Nadal when he was 18 – the same strength.

“The two-handed backhand is unbelievably solid. He also has good hands.”

The world number 55 will next take on Canada’s Felix Auger-Aliassime at Flushing Meadows after the 12th seed came from a set down to overcome home favourite Frances Tiafoe 4-6 6-2 7-6 (8-6) 6-4.

“I’m super excited to be in my first second week in the Grand Slam, so it’s amazing for me. It’s a dream come true,” Alcaraz said in his on-court interview.

“It’s really tough to play these kind of matches, to play fifth sets. I hope to play more second weeks, to play more quarter-finals of Grand Slams.

“I didn’t expect to play quarter-finals here. So I think it’s a really good performance from me in these matches.”

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