Carlos Alcaraz makes a return against Daniel Evans in the...

Carlos Alcaraz makes a return against Daniel Evans in the third round of the U.S. Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Saturday. Credit: Errol Anderson

Top seed Carlos Alcaraz lost his first set of this U.S. Open on Saturday when No. 26 Daniel Evans of Great Britain staved off elimination by winning the third set at Arthur Ashe Stadium. 

Alcaraz, the 20-year-old Spaniard, went on to win the third-round match with a fourth-set flourish. 

Alcaraz steamrolled Evans, winning all four points on serve in the final game to finish off a 6-2, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 victory and advance to the round of 16. 

The defending champion will next face Italy’s Matteo Arnaldi, who ousted No. 16 Cameron Norrie of Great Britain, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4.

“When I saw the draw,” Arnaldi said, “that was my goal, to go and play against [Alcaraz]. But I’ve never played against a World No. 1.”

This is what it looks like:

Alcaraz was up 3-2 in the final set when he broke Evans with an unbelievably athletic backhand winner into the back corner to Evans’ left. Evans looked around in disbelief before tossing his racket into the net as Alcaraz raised his arms in triumph. 

The triumph wasn’t complete, but it would be soon thereafter. Evans made Alcaraz work for every point, which made the seemingly one-sided match an entertaining one for the afternoon Ashe crowd. 

Evans had earlier smashed his racket into the court. But mostly the 33-year-old smiled, regardless of which player prevailed on a particular point, because the match was a lot of fun. 

Alcaraz smiled a lot, too.

“Obviously, I want to win every match that I play,” Alcaraz said. “But at the same time, I want to have fun, trying different things, make the people enjoy watching tennis, watching my matches. Sometimes I talk to myself about what is most important: If I win or doing great things. Obviously, [to] win the matches is always most important. But sometimes I talk about that."

Sabalenka advances on Armstrong court 

No. 2 women’s seed Aryna Sabalenka beat unseeded Clara Burel of France, 6-1, 6-1, the Belarusian’s third consecutive straight-set victory.  

Sabalenka will next face No. 13 Daria Kasatkina of Russia. Kasatkina beat unseeded Belgian Greet Minnen, 6-3, 6-4. 

Sabalenka’s match was played at Louis Armstrong Stadium. She has not yet been scheduled in Ashe. 

“Of course, I have noticed that,” she said. “Of course, I would like to play on Ashe. It's different atmosphere. Louis Armstrong [is] giving me so much support and I like playing there. But, yeah, I hope that next match will be on Ashe. No pressure. I feel good on Louis. Feel good on Ashe. It's whatever.” 

Pegula survives 

Jessica Pegula, the third-seeded American, outlasted No. 26 Elina Svitolina of Ukraine, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.

Pegula will face No. 17 Madison Keys. The American beat Liudmila Samsonova, 5-7, 6-2, 6-2.

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