Alcaraz Title Defense Lives On, Dispatches Arnaldi to Reach QFs at the US Open
Carlos Alcaraz reacts after winning a men's singles match at the 2023 US Open, Monday, Sep. 4, 2023 in Flushing, NY. Photo Courtesy: Garrett Ellwood/USTA.

(New York-Flushing Meadows) - Top seed Carlos Alcaraz takes out Italian Matteo Arnalidi in straight sets to secure his spot at the US Open quarterfinals on Monday in New York.

Reigning US Open champion Carlos Alcaraz is a man on a mission; his goal is to succeed, becoming the first player to defend the title in New York since Roger Federer in 2008, and so far, so good.

On Monday, the two-time Slam winner advanced to his third consecutive quarterfinal at the major by powering past World No. 61 Matteo Arnaldi 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 in almost two hours.

In his on-court interview, he said: “The intensity from the start to the last ball, I think I played a really solid match. Less mistakes. I played my game.

[I] tried to go to the net all the time. I am really happy with the performance. I am happy to be through.”

Next, he will either face Alexander Zverev or Jannik Sinner.

The fourth-round showdown saw Alcaraz hitting the court at the Arthur Ashe Stadium with a bandage on his left leg for the first time all tournament, which did not seem to hurt his performance, perhaps his best at the event this season.

His game was as solid as powerful from the off, and it did not take long for the young champion to find an edge, breaking Arnaldi in the sixth game to open a 4-2 advantage, which he held for the remainder of the first set, notching a 6-3 win in 32 minutes.

Sharp at the net, he won 86 percent of his approaches, converting one of all three break-point opportunities he earned.

Picking up where he left off, the player mentored by Juan Carlos Ferrero broke to begin the second set, firing a sublime passing shot.

Dominating play, the youngest number one seed in the major’s history marched to produce a double break, clinching the second set 6-3 in 41 minutes, winning 72 percent of the first serve points.

Facing the world number one for the first time in his young career, Arnaldi converted his first break in the matchup during the third set to lead 2-1.

However, the 12th-time ATP titlist recovered fast to break straight back and draw level.

Moreover, a hold in the fifth game would see him steal a clinical 3-2 advantage.

Nonetheless, the spirited Italian found another gear, and building on his late challenge, he broke twice, but so did Alcaraz.

The most balanced set of the match forced the Spaniard to dig deep to secure a 6-4 win.

Showcasing great consistency throughout the three-setter, Alcaraz booked his ticket into the Slam quarterfinals, becoming the second man in the Open Era, along with Andre Agassi, to achieve the feat.

He finished with 31 winners to Arnaldis’ 22 as 22 and 25 unforced errors, respectively.

The Path to the QFs

The 20-year-old dropped his lone game at this year’s event while playing 26th seed Daniel Evans. A third-round clash that Alcaraz rallied to close out 6-2, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 on Saturday.

However, his first challenge came Thursday when he met South African Llyod Harris. Displaying his vast repertoire in an entertaining match, the Spanish player earned a 6-3, 6-1, 7-6(4) triumph.

The defending champion opened his campaign at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Tuesday against German Dominik Kopefer, who was forced to retire due to an ankle injury when the Murcia native led 6-2, 3-2.

For his part, 22-year-old Arnaldi, contesting his maiden US Open main draw this season, enjoyed a dream run at Flushing Meadows, progressing into the fourth round after stunning 16th seed Cameron Norrie in three sets on Saturday.

Ranked at World No. 61 and set to break into the Top 50 for the first time, he claimed his first victory on tour in Barcelona last April, coming from qualifying to beat local favorite Jaume Munar in straight sets.

Late that month, the Sanremo-born continued his run of form on Spanish soil by upsetting third seed Casper Ruud at the Mutua Madrid Open in his second-rounder.

Moreover, the all-court player advanced to the semifinals at the Croatia Open last July, falling to eventual champion, Australian Alexei Popyrin.

Cecilia demartini
Sports Pundit staff writer @ceci_2812
Cecilia is a writer and journalist, passionate about motorsport and tennis.Her articles are published in newspapers and international online publications.

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