Carlos Alcaraz reaches US Open quarterfinal with late-night win against Marin Cilic
Carlos Alcaraz of Spain looks to the sky as he hits his final serve against Marin Cilic of Croatia on day one of the World Tennis Championships in London, England, Thursday, Sept. 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Toby Talbot)
The 2017 French Open champion looked to be in a big hole after losing to American Milos Raonic in the third round on Tuesday.
Alcaraz’s first-round loss to a two-time Grand Slam champion left him down in the rankings.
He also lost the second set, in what was his first singles win since 2014.
His opponent, Marin Cilic, who beat the No. 4 seed in the US Open last year, was waiting on the other side of the net to serve.
Cilic’s strategy was to use Alcaraz as a counterpunch.
”If you have to be smart, you’re going to be a very smart opponent,” Cilic said in a pre-match interview. ”You’re going to use a strategy, you can’t just go to hit every ball like this.”
Cilic began serving, and Alcaraz made the most of the mistake.
”He said serve it on the rise, I think I saw it in his ear just before he hit it,” Cilic said. ”He missed it there and it’s a backhand. It happens to all of us.”
Alcaraz began to look like the much-maligned player who began the year off the pace and never recovered from what ended up being an average 2017.
”It was a great way to close the year that I was coming to this, to close the year off on a win,” Alcaraz said. ”I’m back and ready to challenge right now.”
Cilic, who started off his comeback with losses in his last four matches,