Alcaraz had no problems overcoming his round of 16 match against Matteo Arnaldi, ranked number 61, 6-3, 6-3, 6-4. "It was a solid match, with fewer mistakes", he said. "I'm very satisfied with how I played."
The roof of the Arthur Ashe was closed to prevent possible summer showers and a strange yellowish light was streaming through it. On the one hand, it would avoid the humidity of the hottest day of the tournament so far, but on the other hand, playing indoors is not the preference of Carlitos Alcaraz, who has always obtained the best results outdoors .
Not underestimating any rival, the number one came out with his left thigh bandaged and another bandage covering his right abductor, although if it affected him it was not noticeable in the movements. He began dominating with the right hand ("a shot that will be studied for many years", commented John McEnroe). The Italian responded unfazed and risked some hard shots, while others missed the target. The Murcian took the first hose in 32 minutes.
And it was just warming up engines. The Wimbledon champion went even further in the second leg and showed off the best moves: a backhand pass to break the first game, a drop and balloon combination to consolidate 2-0, and then the same move for the 3rd -1 and 4-2. It didn't give options to the one from Sanremo, who saw how Carlitos had answers even for the best shots. With another lay-up, at the third set point on Arnaldi's serve, the second half ended 41 minutes later. It looked like he had things under control when, in the third game of the third set, the Italian broke Alcaraz's serve, who rallied and restored parity in the next game, 2-2. The crowd began to cheer Arnaldi and celebrate his successes, and this seemed to give new life to the Sanremo player, who resisted until the tenth game, in which the Murcian broke clean and took the match.
With this victory, Carlos Alcaraz became the first player to reach at least the quarter-finals in his first three appearances at the US Open. He was also the second man in the Open era to reach the quarterfinals under the age of 21, as Agassi did from 1988 to 1990.
Now comes the moment of truth for El Palmar. If he had not had high-level rivals until the eighth round, his luck ends here. His opponent in the quarters will be the winner of the duel between Alexander Zverev and Jannik Sinner. The German is one of the few players on the circuit who have a positive record against the Murcian, with three wins from five encounters. With his Italian opponent, against whom he starred in an anthological duel in the quarters of last year, the head-to-head between the two is tied at three. The two matches played in 2023 were shared victories, for Sinner in Miami and for Alcaraz in Indian Wells.