NEW YORK — Carlos Alcaraz, the 18-year-old Spaniard who set the U.S. Open aflame last Friday with an upset win over No. 3 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, abruptly retired from his quarterfinal match Tuesday night against No. 12 seed Felix Auger-Aliassime while trailing 6-2, 3-1.
Auger-Aliassime, the much-hyped 21-year-old Canadian who has steadily progressed up the rankings over the past two years, advances to his first Grand Slam semifinal where he’ll face No. 2 seed Daniil Medvedev.
Alcaraz said afterwards he had a problem with his right adductor, a muscle in the thigh and hip area, but that he was able to control the pain early on. As the match progressed, however, he said it became bad enough that he could not continue.
«It’s really tough to end a great tournament like this, but I had no choice to still play,» he said. «I have to take care of my body and to stay healthy.»
Auger-Aliassime had controlled the match to that point with his serve and forehand, acing Alcaraz seven times and hitting 14 winners. Alcaraz had spent a significant amount of time on the court just to get past the round of 16, needing 3 hours, 31 minutes in a five-set win over Peter Gojowczyk and 4 hours, 7 minutes to outlast Tsitsipas.
«To play two matches to fifth sets in a row, play at a great intensity like four hours is really tough for me,» he said. «I’m not used to playing these kind of matches in a row so I think it’s really tough to recover to the next matches.»
Though Alcaraz had some tape on the injured area at the start of the match, Auger-Aliassime said he was not aware that Alcaraz was injured.
«I didn’t see it coming,» Auger-Aliassime said. «It’s unfortunate to finish like this. At the same time I think he can be very proud of himself, very positive, heading back with head high and for myself the tournament keeps going.»
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: US Open: Carlos Alcaraz abruptly retires against Felix Auger-Aliassime