Carlos Alcaraz qualified for the quarter-finals of the US Open tennis tournament after defeating Italian Matteo Arnaldi in straight sets today, Monday, to become the third-seeded American Jessica Pegula, the latest player in the world rankings to be eliminated from the tournament.
Defending champion Alcaraz, who dropped just one set on their way to the quarter-finals, produced a dominant display to overwhelm world number 61 Arnaldi, winning 6-3 6-3 6-4 in an hour and 57 minutes.
The 20-year-old Alcaraz is bidding to become the first man since Roger Federer in 2008 to successfully defend the US Open after winning the title for the first time last year.
The Spaniard’s quarter-final opponent will be confirmed later on Monday, with Alcaraz set to face either German Alexander Zverev or Italian sixth seed Yannick Sinner in the quarter-finals on Wednesday.
The match with Sinner will be a repeat of last year’s quarter-final classic between the two men, which set a record for the shortest-ever finish to a US Open match after concluding at 2.50am.
“I think the strength from the start until the last ball, I played a really strong game, fewer mistakes,” Alcaraz said after Monday’s quick win.
“I am really happy with the performance overall.”
In other men’s matches on Monday, Briton Jack Draper will meet eighth seeded Russian Andrei Rublev, while third seed Daniil Medvedev, 2021 champion, will face Australian Alex de Minaur, seeded 13th.
– Pegula sunk by friendly fire –
In the women’s draw, Pegula joined world number one Ija Swatic, who lost in the fourth round on Sunday, on her way out of the tournament, losing in straight sets to compatriot and close friend Madison Keys.
Pegula entered the US Open dreaming of her first-ever Grand Slam, buoyed by victory at the Canadian Open WTA 1000 last month in Montreal.
But the 29-year-old’s campaign came to an abrupt halt in front of a packed Arthur Ashe Arena as 2017 US Open finalist Keys recorded a dominant 6-1 6-3 victory in just 61 minutes.
Pegula was not left unanswered as Keys shot a string of 21 winners to her six.
Keys punished her friend’s shaky serve, breaking her five times en route to a comfortable win.
“It’s always hard to play a friend but we’ve been doing it our whole lives at this point,” Keys, 28, said.
“When we get on the pitch it’s all business, and when we get off the pitch we’re back to being friends.”
Keys, seeded 17th, will now face Czech Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova in the quarter-finals on Wednesday.
Vondrousova, the ninth seed, booked her place in the quarter-finals by defeating unseeded American Peyton Stearns, after coming from a set down to win 6-7 (3/7), 6-3, 6-2.
Vondrousova made history in July by becoming the first unseeded woman to win Wimbledon, her first Grand Slam title.
The 24-year-old never got past the fourth round at the US Open and admitted after her victory on Monday that she surprised herself by making it to the quarter-finals.
“She played great from the start and tried to stay in the game,” Vondrousova said of Stearns.
“I’m very happy. I actually didn’t expect it after Wimpy, there was a lot of pressure. We’ll see what happens next.”
The other two quarter-finalists will be decided later on Monday, with second seed Aryna Sabalenka – who is set to become the world’s top women’s number one following the death of Swatik on Sunday – facing Russia’s Daria Kasatkina.
Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur will face Chinese fifth seed Cheng Kenwen in the other women’s fourth-round match.
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