“When I saw the draw, my goal was to play against him” – Alcaraz’s next opponent, Matteo Arnaldi

He’s just beaten Cameron Norrie in straight sets – now Matteo Arnaldi has to face the defending US Open champion

Matteo Arnaldi Matteo Arnaldi in Toronto (ICON SMI/Panoramic)

Matteo Arnaldi is into the fourth round of the US Open for the very first time – and waiting for him is defending champion Carlos Alcaraz.

The Italian – having beaten Cameron Norrie 6-3, 6-4, 6-3 to get to this point – is hyped for the challenge.

“When I saw the draw, that was my goal, to go and play against him. But, you know, I never played against a world No 1. It’s just something crazy to think what I was at the start of the year and where I am now.

“I’m just try[ing] to think match after match and to enjoy this moment.”

Arnaldi: I always liked this place!

As Arnaldi alluded to, at the turn of the year he was ranked world No 320. He’s now at a career high of world No 61 having made the main draws of both Wimbledon and Roland-Garros before New York.

Now with a win over the world No 16, he’s set to climb even higher, and the 22-year-old hopes the experience on Court 17 will stand him in good stead for the future.

“It was a bit crazy. I’m a bit speechless. But I think I played really, really well. I mean, we planned to do what I did and it worked for all the match.

“You know, that’s what you hope every time but it’s not that easy. I mean, today it worked really well and I think he wasn’t expecting also me to play like that.

“I mean, a lot of experience for me. I’m playing for the first time big players like him, and first time in the fourth round, was my first US Open main draw. I always liked this place. I always played very well from when I was junior.

“So, you know, all this emotion together, I think I was able to play my best tennis. I have a lot of friends here. It was fun also. I enjoy to play.”

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