Felix Auger-Aliassime moved into the US Open semifinals on Tuesday, September 7 (Wednesday, September 8, Manila time) when Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz retired while trailing, 6-3, 3-1.
The 18-year-old Spaniard showed no signs of distress as Auger-Aliassime took the opening set but after the Canadian broke to open the second, Alcaraz slumped.
With Auger-Aliassime building a 3-1 advantage and Alcaraz preparing to serve, the Spaniard turned and indicated he could not go on.
“It’s really tough to end a great tournament like this,” said Alcaraz. “I had no choice [but to stop] playing.”
During the first changeover of the second set, Alcaraz called for the physiotherapist but did not receive any treatment. A game later, however, the Spaniard turned and indicated he could not go on.
“First of all I have to take care of my body,” he said. “I didn’t feel good to still playing, so I had to retire.”
Coming off grueling back-to-back five-set matches, including a third-round win over Stefanos Tsitsipas, Alcaraz stepped onto the court with both legs heavily strapped and seemed to lack the power and energy that had carried him to the quarterfinals.
“I don’t know what happened, I didn’t see it coming,” said Auger-Aliassime in an on-court interview. “I thought we were putting on a good show.”
“I didn’t really see anything,” the 21-year-old added. “Either I was too focused on my game or I’m not seeing things.”
The retirement sends Auger-Aliassime into the semifinals, the same stage as compatriot Leylah Fernandez, the 19-year-old who booked her spot in the women’s last four earlier in the day by beating Elina Svitolina.
Auger-Aliassime becomes the first Canadian man to reach the US Open semifinals where he will take on second-seeded Daniil Medvedev of Russia.
“It’s great for Canada. It’s great for Quebec,” said Auger-Aliassime. “I never thought a day like this would come.”
“Both a little girl and a little boy from Montreal, both at the same time in the semifinals of the US Open,” he said. “It’s special.”
“I hope the people back home appreciate the moment also.
“It’s great but it would be amazing if we were both in a final.” – Rappler.com