Carlos Alcaraz upsets No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas, survives bathroom break for historic win at US Open

·4 min read
Spain's Carlos Alcaraz celebrates after beating Stefanos Tsitsipas at the 2021 US Open
Spain's Carlos Alcaraz celebrates after beating Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas in the third round of the 2021 US Open. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)

Carlos Alcaraz came up with a massive, historic upset on Friday afternoon at Arthur Ashe Stadium, and he survived another Stefanos Tsitsipas bathroom break to pull it off.

Alcaraz knocked off No. 3 Tsitsipas 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7-2), 0-6, 7-6 (7-5) in their third-round match, which made the 18-year-old the youngest player to defeat a top-3 player in the world at the US Open since 1973.

The win sparked a massive celebration for the Spanish teenager on the court. He’s now the furthest he has ever been in a Grand Slam, and has won his first top-5 match.

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Tsitsipas booed after bathroom break

Alcaraz took control of the match early, and took a 2-1 lead after winning a third set tiebreaker. That’s when, to a chorus of boos from fans, the Greek star took another bathroom break — something he was slammed for earlier in the tournament by Andy Murray and others.

When he returned to the court nearly five minutes later, Tsitsipas cruised through the fourth set 6-0 to even things back up.

Murray slammed Tsitsipas after their match in the first round, in which Tsitsipas beat Murray with a late rally. Tsitsipas took a bathroom break between the fourth and fifth sets in the nearly five-hour match.

“It’s never once taken me that long to go to the toilet, ever,” Murray complained to the chair umpire during the break before he screamed at Tsitsipas to “get up!” after he returned to the court only to sit down and drink water on the bench.

"It's just disappointing because I feel it influenced the outcome of the match," Murray said after the match. "I'm not saying I necessarily win that match, for sure, but it had influence on what was happening after those breaks.

"I rate him a lot. I think he's a brilliant player. I think he's great for the game, but I have zero time for that stuff at all, and I lost respect for him."

Tsitsipas denied any allegations that he was cheating by using the bathroom breaks, and he didn’t let it get to him as he took another one Friday.

Though he seemingly retook momentum after his break, it wasn’t enough. Alcaraz survived a tiebreaker in the final set to take the match and make it into the fourth round of the tournament.

“[His] ball speed was incredible,” Tsitsipas said of Alcaraz, via The New York Times’ Christopher Clarey. “I’ve never seen anybody hit the ball so hard … He can be a contender for Grand Slam titles, and he has the game to be there.”

Alcaraz will next take on Germany’s Peter Gojowczyk. The German beat Switzerland’s Henri Laaksonen earlier Friday 3-6, 6-3, 6-1, 6-4.

Tsitsipas confused by bathroom break attention

While it doesn’t matter much anymore, as he’s out of the tournament, Tsitsipas doesn’t understand why everyone was so focused on his lengthy breaks.

"I took my toilet break as a normal athlete," he said, via ESPN. "Might have taken a bit longer than other athletes. But if there is a rule that says there's a specific amount of time that you are allowed to take, then I would probably try and follow that protocol, that rule, and stay within the guidelines and try and follow it as much as possible.

"For me, the only thing I did is change from wet clothes to dry clothes. Apparently it's a huge issue."

As for the boos he received from the crowd on Friday night, Tsitsipas was confused. The fans, he said, simply don't get it.

"But I feel like, you know, people, they don't understand," he said. "They are here for the show. They want to watch tennis. They're very impatient, especially the new generation. They just want to get it done quick."