Teenager sets incredible 32-year first at US Open

2 weeks ago 11
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The tennis world has a new star on its hands, with 18-year-old Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz rewriting the history books at the US Open.

After making his grand slam debut at the Australian Open earlier this year, Alcaraz has made at least the second round at all four majors this year.

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He's the fifth youngest player to achieve that feat, and the first since Goran Ivanisevic in 1989.

He's in impressive company, with Bjorn Borg, Boris Becker, Ivanisevic and Australia's John Alexander the four players to win a match at all four slams at a younger age than Alcaraz.

Carlos Alcaraz is on the verge of breaking into the top 50 in the world rankings at the age of 18. (Getty)

"The word around the locker room and the playing group is that this kid is the closest thing to Rafa since Nadal came along," tennis great Todd Woodbridge told Wide World of Sports.

"You get one of these players every 15 years. We had Michael Change in my era, or Lleyton Hewitt a bit later.

"This era has been cruel, because they younger players haven't been able to break through against the Big Three.

"But this young guy has the chance to be the next dominant player, that's what the whisper is around the tennis community."

Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz at the French Open earlier this year, where he made the third round. (Getty)

Alcaraz backed up his first round win over 26th seed Cameron Norrie with a victory over Arthur Rinderknech in the second round, setting up a third round match against Stefanos Tsitsipas.

By making the third round, Alcaraz has become the youngest player since Novak Djokovic in 2005 to make the last 32 at multiple grand slams.

Coached by former world No.1 Juan Carlos Ferrero, the teenager won his first ATP tournament in July in Croatia, and is already ranked 55 in the world. There is no-one younger than Alcaraz in the top 400 in the world.

"What he's achieved is fantastic, but he hasn't yet beaten a big gun on a big stage. He hasn't beaten a top-10 player at a slam," Woodbridge said.

"Don't be surprised if he causes a major upset, because he's just about due to make that breakthrough at grand slam level, given what he's already achieved.

"When you look at him, his body is very mature for an 18-year-old. He's got physical strength which is allowing him to play at this level, and technically he looks very sound as well."

Alcaraz hit 40 winners in his 7-6, 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 win over Rinderknech, securing the victory in just under three hours in a rain-interupted match. The 18-year-old was able to save three set points at 3-6 in the opening set tie-breaker.

"It was a great match and performance from me," Alcaraz said. "I feel I played really well throughout. Every player is tough. Reaching the third round is great for me and I am really happy."

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