Two of the most exciting #NextGenATP stars — Carlos Alcaraz and Felix Auger-Aliassime — begin what may be a fascinating ATP Head2Head rivalry of the future on Tuesday at the US Open, last on Arthur Ashe Stadium. It will be the youngest US Open quarter-final for 15 years, when 20-year-old Rafael Nadal faced 19-year-old Novak Djokovic at 2006 Roland Garros.
Alcaraz, the youngest US Open quarter-finalist in the Open Era (since April 1968), will be hoping to continue his breakthrough season with another fearless performance of power tennis against 12th seed Auger-Aliassime, the youngest man to reach back-to-back Grand Slam quarter-finals since Juan Martin del Potro in 2008-2009.
Two days after he upset third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas to become the youngest man to defeat a Top 3 player at the US Open, 18-year-old Alcaraz secured back-to-back five-set victories for the first time in his career by beating Peter Gojowczyk 5-7, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2, 6-0 in the fourth round. The Spaniard has won 25 of his past 30 matches (at any level) and is the youngest man to reach the tournament’s quarter-finals since Thomaz Koch (18) in 1963.
“Carlos is a great player,” said Auger-Aliassime. “[A] great person also. He deserves to be in this position. He’s going to be [at the] top of the game, I think, for many years in the future… I think he’s playing good and he will keep playing well in this tournament, so I have to prepare myself for the best of him.”
Aliassime, who has struck 77 aces in four matches (the third most at the tournament, after Reilly Opelka’s 109 aces and Lloyd Harris‘ 87 aces), continues to strengthen every aspect of his game under the guidance of coaches Frederic Fontang and Toni Nadal. The 22-year-old has beaten the ever-consistent Roberto Bautista Agut and Frances Tiafoe en route to the last eight at Flushing Meadows, and at No. 15 in the FedEx ATP Rankings attempts to take the next step: a place in his first major championship semi-finals.
Photo: Andrew Ong/USTA
Medvedev has yet to drop a set in four matches at this year’s US Open, with victories over Richard Gasquet, Dominic Koepfer, Pablo Andujar and 24th seed Daniel Evans. The Russian has won 15 of his past 17 matches since Wimbledon, including his fourth ATP Masters 1000 trophy at the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers in Toronto (d. Opelka).
Van de Zandschulp came into the US Open with just 11 tour-level matches under his belt; he’d never even visited the United States prior to a fortnight ago, but having come through qualifications and stand-out main draw wins over the likes of eighth seed Casper Ruud and 11th seed Diego Schwartzman, the Dutchman is riding on the crest of a wave. The World No. 117 is the first Dutch male to reached a major championship quarter-final since Sjeng Schalken at 2004 Wimbledon.
“I saw [a] few matches of his before,” said Medvedev. “I remember he played Karen [Khachanov] in Melbourne, had match point against him. [I] saw him practice a few times. I know kind of how he plays. I know he can play well. I saw this today [Sunday], especially he chose very good tactics against Diego.
“I’m going to prepare with my coach [Gilles Cervara] tactically as much as I can after. Again, if I serve well, if I play well, I know that it’s not easy to play against me. He has some matches in his legs. I’m going to try to use it and try to win.”