Alexander Zverev disenchanted the Spanish tennis prodigy Carlos Alcaraz with an impressive performance and, like last year, reached the semifinals at the French Open. The 25-year-old Olympic champion surprisingly won 6: 4, 6: 4, 4: 6, 7: 6 (9: 7) in Paris against the high-flyer on Tuesday and can thus continue from the first Grand Slam title of his career dream.
In a high-class game, Zverev converted his second match point after 3:18 hours and will now meet either Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal on Friday. The giant duel was still on Tuesday’s night session.
“I knew that I had to play my best tennis from the start and I did it,” said Zverev in the winner’s interview on the court. “He will win this tournament several times. I hope I can make it before he starts beating us all.”
For Zverev it was the first win against a top ten player in one of the four Grand Slam tournaments. And that too against the player of the hour. Because Alcaraz had not lost 14 games in a row before and won the tournaments in Barcelona and Madrid before the French Open.
Especially in the Spanish capital, the young star had come up trumps and had beaten Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Zverev in the final. There the German didn’t have the slightest chance at 3: 6, 1: 6.
In the Stade Roland Garros it looked very different on Tuesday. Zverev started highly concentrated on the Philippe Chatrier court and was unrecognizable compared to the sloppy performance against Alcaraz compatriot Bernabe Zapata Miralles in the round of 16.
The German number one had previously criticized the preferential treatment of Alcaraz by the organizers. Even before the French Open, it had been heard from the Zverev camp that the hype about the young Spaniard was getting a little too much. Apparently Zverev drew the necessary motivation from this.
Because Zverev acted much more aggressively than in the previous games and did not let Alcaraz play his usual dominant game. He also showed nerves of steel right from the start when he fended off a break ball from the Spaniard in his first service game.
Instead, he took over the service from Alcaraz himself a little later and from then on determined what happened, to the amazement of the spectators. Alcaraz, the youngest Paris quarter-finalist in 16 years, began to struggle with himself and made a total of 16 avoidable mistakes in the first round. After 43 minutes, Zverev took the first set.
Even after that, Zverev remained surprisingly stable and survived the tricky phases with flying colours. Again he fended off the first breakball of the set and a little later made the break himself. He converted the third set ball a little later with an ace.
Alcaraz then disappeared into the dressing room for a few minutes. But even after his return, the tennis prodigy initially found no remedy against Zverev, who acted almost flawlessly. When the score was 4: 4, however, Zverev missed a breakball, which cost him dearly. Because a little later, Alcaraz took the service from him out of nowhere and got the third set. The audience went wild, Alcaraz danced jubilantly across the square.