Zverev wins five set thriller, will face Alcaraz in quarterfinals

Carlos Alcaraz, of Spain, serves to Matteo Arnaldi, of Italy, during the fourth round of the U.S. Open tennis championships, Monday, Sept. 4, 2023, in New York. (Manu Fernandez/AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — Carlos Alcaraz had little trouble beating unseeded Matteo Arnaldi 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 on Monday to reach the U.S. Open quarterfinals, the third time in as many appearances he’s gotten at least that far at Flushing Meadows.

The No. 1-seeded Alcaraz, who is seeking to defend his title after winning Wimbledon in July, said afterward that he now prefers hard courts over any other surface and also likes playing under the Arthur Ashe Stadium roof. He enjoyed both against the 61st-ranked Arnaldi, an Italian who proved little match for Alcaraz’s power, which produced 31 winners.

By advancing to the round of eight, the 20-year-old Spaniard became the youngest player to reach three U.S. Open quarterfinals in the open era that dates to 1968 and the only player other than Andre Agassi to do so before turning 21.

Alcaraz will next meet No. 12 Alexander Zverev, who outlasted No. 6-seeded Jannik Sinner 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 in a night match that lasted 4 hours, 41 minutes and ended early Tuesday morning.

The 2021 champion, Danill Medvedev, and No. 8 Andrey Rublev will face off in an all-Russian quarterfinal. Rublev beat Jack Draper 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 in the afternoon, and Medvedev got past No. 13 Alex de Minaur 2-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-2 at night.

Earlier, Madison Keys overpowered fellow American Jessica Pegula 6-1, 6-3 in just over an hour to book her spot in the quarterfinals.

Keys, the No. 17 seed and 2017 runner-up at Flushing Meadows, converted on 77% of her first-serve points and used powerful ground strokes to keep rallies short — a little over three strokes on average — to make quick work of her third-seeded opponent and close friend.

For Pegula, it marked yet another Grand Slam disappointment. She has advanced to the quarterfinals in each major tournament but has yet to reach the final four.

Keys’ quarterfinals opponent will be ninth-seeded Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic, who came back to beat unseeded American Peyton Stearns 6-7 (3), 6-3, 6-2 to keep her dream alive of a second straight Grand Slam title after winning Wimbledon in July.

“I actually didn’t expect it after Wimby, there was a lot of pressure,” Vondrousova said in her postmatch interview. “Let’s see what happens next.”

Other fourth-round action on a Labor Day that saw both sunshine and sprinkles at Flushing Meadows includes Aryna Sabalenka, who will become the new No. 1 in the WTA rankings after the loss of top-seeded Iga Swiatek, against 13th-seeded Daria Kasatkina.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.