Carlos Alcaraz
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Carlos Alcaraz survived a five-hour battle against Jannik Sinner to advance to the US Open semifinals, becoming the youngest player to do so since Pete Sampras won the title in 1990. As a result, Alcaraz will likely get a new, career-high ATP ranking next week. 

Alcaraz and Sinner -- 19 and 21 years old, respectively -- competed until 2:50 a.m. ET, making it the latest finish in US Open history after a marathon of five hours and 15 minutes that began Wednesday night. Their match became an instant classic and was a thrilling preview of tennis' future. The Spanish star Alcaraz laid on the ground for a few seconds and covered his face in disbelief after pulling off the 6-3, 6-7 (7-9), 6-7 (0-7), 7-5, 6-3 victory, which got him to the first major semifinal of his career. 

"It felt great, but probably at the end of the match I was in my end," Alcaraz said during his post-match press conference. "It was really, really tough for me, but through the whole match -- five hours and 15 minutes -- I felt well, physically. Of course the level of tennis that we played, it was really, really high."

In the process of winning, Alcaraz also gave fans what will likely be one of the top highlights of the tournament. In the second set, Sinner had a 5-4 advantage and sent the ball down the middle of the court while Alcaraz ran from the left side. He didn't have enough time to fully adjust, so Alcaraz opted for a stunning behind-the-back shot. Sinner hit the ball back to him, but Alcaraz kept his focus after the trick shot and ended up winning the point.

Sinner had a couple chances to win the match, but Alcaraz showed his resilience. The Italian star Sinner was serving for the win at 5-4 in the fourth set, but Alcaraz saved the match point and forced a fifth set. During the decider, Sinner also found himself leading by a break, but Alcaraz never doubted himself. 

"I always say that you have to believe in yourself all the time," Alcaraz said in his on-court interview. "Hope is the last thing that you lose. ... I have to stay in the match, trying to stay calm, but it's difficult to stay calm in that moment."

Although Rafael Nadal is still the most recognizable tennis star from Spain, Alcaraz is making a name for himself. In May, he became the youngest player to ever compete in a Madrid Open final. He achieved that by defeating Nadal and Novak Djokovic, which no player had ever done in back-to-back matches in the same clay court tournament.

Alcaraz is currently No. 4 in the ATP rankings, which is the highest ranking of his career. He has a chance to get the No. 1 spot next Monday, but he has to make the title game. Casper Ruud also has a chance at the top ranking if he gets past the semifinal round. They're on opposite sides of the bracket, so if both make it the winner of the US Open will be No. 1. 

If neither makes it to the final, Nadal -- who was upset by Frances Tiafoe in the fourth round -- will move from No. 3 to No. 1. Daniil Medvedev is the current No. 1, but the US Open defending champion lost to Nick Kyrgios in the Round of 16 and will therefore not be able to keep his spot. 

But before getting too excited about the potential top ranking, Alcaraz will have to get through Tiafoe -- a man who is also making history with his US Open run. Tiafoe is the first American man to reach the semifinals since 2006, as well as the first African-American man to make the US Open semifinals since Arthur Ashe in 1972.

"It's going to be really, really rough beating Frances. Everybody knows the level of Frances. He has beaten Rafa Nadal, Rublev in three sets," Alcaraz said. "He's playing unbelievable right now, high confidence. He loves the crowd, he loves this court. I'm going to have to put my best."

The match between Alcaraz and Tiafoe is set for Friday. Click here for everything you need to know about the 2022 US Open, including scores, schedules and how to watch.