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Medvedev and Auger Aliassime through to semis

This year’s US Open is making history with youngsters and mostly unknown players suddenly coming to the fore nine days ago when they started runs at Flushing Meadows, to reach the last eight of a major championship. It is also the first time since 1881 that no American has reached that stage of their home grand slam which must be very disappointing for the local fans considering there are 14 of them in the top 100 of the ATP rankings, the most since 1996!

Myself, the tournament keeps going for me. I’m happy to be through to the semi-finals to give myself a shot to play for a Grand Slam final Felix Auger-Aliassime

But this year it’s the likes of two qualifiers, Carlos Alcaraz, aged 18, and Botic Van de Zandschulp, 25, who filled two of the quarter-final places where their respective challenges came to an end having made their mark by upsetting top ten players in previous matches with Alcaraz collecting Stefanos Tsitsipas’ scalp in round three while Van de Zandschulp collected two, namely those of Casper Ruud and Diego Schwartzman.

For the teenage Spaniard, a Rafa Nadal protégé, it is a matter of building up his strength and physique as his body started to break down during his clash with the 12th seeded 21-year-old Canadian, Felix Auger Aliassime, which wasn’t surprising having won through – in consecutive matches to reach the last eight – a four setter and two gruelling five setters.

The youngster, ranked 55, retired while trailing 6-3 3-1 having decided it wasn’t worth aggravating a right shoulder abductor injury he was carrying.

Alcaraz later commented on the injury.

“I had no choice to still playing,” Alcaraz explained. “First of all, I have to take care of my body, yeah, to still (be) healthy, no? It a long match and, yeah, I didn’t feel good to still (be) playing, so I had to retire.”

As result Auger-Aliassime becomes the first male Canadian to reach the semi-finals of the US Open and the sixth to make a Slam semi-final, joining his 19-year-old compatriot Leylah Fernandez, who earlier in the day, reached the last four of the women’s singles. Could they produce another surprise and make it a Canadian double at the weekend?

“The first thing is congratulating Carlos for his fantastic tournament,” Auger-Aliassime said. “I also wish him the best. I feel sorry for him. I was expecting a tough battle, the best from him of course.

“I didn’t see it coming. It’s unfortunate to finish like this. At the same time what he’s done has never been done here in the Open Era. I think he can be very proud of himself, very positive heading back with a head high.

“Myself, the tournament keeps going for me. I’m happy to be through to the semi-finals to give myself a shot to play for a Grand Slam final.”

Daniil Medvedev congratulates Botic van de Zandschulp after the Dutchman had troubled him in their quarter-fianl clash

Elsa/Getty Images

Earlier in the day the second seed Daniil Medvedev had opened the men’s day’s schedule in what was expected to be a comfortable run-out for the Russian who had not been tested in his previous four matches. And it looked like that would again be the case for the former finalist who swept tough the first two sets against Botic Van de Zandschulp for the loss of just three games.

But the Dutchman, ranked 117, suddenly raised the level of his game in the third and became a handful as far as the 25-year-old world number two was concerned, who was then pushed all the way in the fourth before prevailing 6-3 6-0 4-6 7-5.

“First of all, really happy to be in the semis again, third time in a row,” Medvedev said. “Couldn’t dream of it maybe four years ago, but now it’s three.

“Tough match. First two sets were kind of under control. He was missing some balls, some important points. So was feeling easy, I should say.

“Then third and fourth set was really tough. He played top level, served really big. Was breaking the rhythm a little bit, so was a really tough set. I’m really happy that in the fourth I managed to, first of all, hold my serve really easily and managed to break him in the end where I had few opportunities to do before.”

With that win Medvedev edges to withing one match of possibly facing Novak Djokovic for the title which would be his first at Grand Slam level having failed twice in two previous final appearances, his last in Melbourne which the Serb won to send himself in search of a calendar grand slam.

“I just want to do a little bit better than the last two times and get this extra step, which is the toughest one, actually,” Medvedev said. “I don’t think about him, because as we saw, anybody can beat anybody,” Medvedev said. “If he’s in the final, and if I’m there, I’m happy. He’s also happy, I guess.”



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