With No.1 spot at risk, Alcaraz focuses on Cincinnati after a surprising loss at Canadian Open. Image Source: IANS News
New York, Sep 7 : After advancing to the US Open semifinal, defending champion Carlos Alcaraz contemplated his mental fortitude since clinching his maiden Grand Slam title at Flushing Meadows just one year ago.
At this time last year, Alcaraz announced his arrival as a superstar in the men’s game by winning his first Grand Slam title at the US Open. He’s since gone from being a contender to a favorite to win in every tournament he plays.
But rather than feel burdened by that expectation, the Spaniard has embraced and adapted to the added pressure.
“Last year I was facing my first semifinal of a Grand Slam. Now I’m facing my fourth one,” Alcaraz said after his straight-sets quarterfinal win over Alexander Zverev on Wednesday night. “I feel like I’m a totally different player… I feel like I’m more mature. I deal better with the pressure of those kinds of moments.”
Coming ahead on Friday is a semifinal showdown with No. 3 seed Daniil Medvedev. Alcaraz leads their head-to-head series 2-1, with both victories coming this year in the Indian Wells final and Wimbledon semifinals.
Although Medvedev is an opponent that no one on tour would take lightly, Alcaraz admitted that the thought of facing Novak Djokovic for the title in New York has crossed his mind.
Alcaraz and Djokovic’s most recent battles in the Wimbledon and Cincinnati finals are widely considered to be the best matches of the year so far. The 20-year-old defeated Djokovic in a titanic five-set championship match at Wimbledon.
A US Open final between them would be a fitting end to a summer that has seen their rivalry dominate sports headlines, but Alcaraz knows it’s far from a guarantee.
“Obviously it’s closer than the beginning of the tournament. It would be great to play a final against Novak here in New York. Both of us have a really tough semifinal, but obviously both of us are looking for that potential final,” said Alcaraz.