Alcaraz into last-eight after early morning epic

Carlos Alcaraz of Spain celebrates match point against Marin Cilic of Croatia during their Men’s Singles Fourth Round match on Day Eight of the 2022 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on 5 September, 2022

Carlos Alcaraz reached the US Open quarter-finals for a second successive year when he defeated 2014 champion Marin Cilic in an epic last-16 tie which finished at 2.23am local time on Tuesday in New York.

In a gruelling three-hour and 54-minute encounter, Cilic was under siege, having to save 12 of 18 break points while committing 66 unforced errors before Alcaraz edged a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 victory.

The 19-year-old Alcaraz, seeded three and seen as the title favourite after the elimination of four-time champion Rafael Nadal, will face Jannik Sinner of Italy for a semi-final place.

Sinner holds a 2-1 advantage over Alcaraz with both wins coming this year at Wimbledon and Umag.

"I believed in myself, it was pretty tough," said Alcaraz.

"I was a break down in the fifth set. It was tough to come back after losing the fourth set."

Alcaraz overcame a 0-2 deficit in the first set to seal the opener and was a break ahead early in the second before the 33-year-old Cilic stormed back to level the contest.

Spain's Carlos Alcaraz hits a return to Croatia's Marin Cilic during their 2022 US Open Tennis tournament men's singles Round of 16 match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in New York, on 5 September, 2022

Alcaraz pounced in the 10th game of the third set to carve out the only break and a two sets to one lead.

The Spaniard twice had Cilic on the ropes late in the fourth set but allowed four break points to slip away.

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Cilic grabbed his unexpected lifeline to take the match to a fifth set decider.

But Alcaraz, having wasted six break points in the fourth set, finally converted for what was a key 3-1 lead.