Alexander Zverev defeated Carlos Alcaraz in a dramatic four-set duel on Tuesday to secure a French Open semifinal meeting with Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal. The German third seed won a 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (9/7) victory over 19-year-old Spanish sensation Alcaraz after three hours and 18 minutes. Zverev went into his second consecutive last-four game at Roland Garros with his first-ever Grand Slam win over a top-10 player.
“I hope I can win him before he is going to beat us all and we don’t have a chance,” Zverev said.
“The match swung his way. I am very happy that I won the tiebreak.”
The 2020 US Open runner-up will face the world’s number one Djokovic or 13-time champion Nadal — who will face each other in the semifinals on Friday later on Tuesday.
Alcaraz has won four titles this year, including two Masters 1,000 events, but committed 56 unforced errors when he missed the chance to reach a first major semi-final.
Instead, Olympic champion Zverev reached the last four at a Slam for the fifth time in his career to hold onto his bid for a first title at one of the sport’s four biggest events.
It also gave him a measure of revenge for the heavy defeat he suffered against Alcaraz in the Madrid Masters final earlier this month.
Alcaraz delighted the Court Philippe Chatrier crowd with a rally to take the third set.
A dramatic fourth set saw Zverev miss an opportunity to serve out the draw, but he sealed the win on his second match point in the tiebreak.
Zverev stops fighting back
Alcaraz paid for making 16 unforced errors as Zverev took the opener thanks to the only break in game five.
It was the world number three who also drew first blood in the second set, as Alcaraz scored on a second break point in the seventh game, before a confident grab on love gave Zverev a 5-3 lead.
Alcaraz managed to lift himself for an attack on Zverev’s next service game, but the German saved a break chance and finished it off with an ace on his third set point for a buffer of two sets.
The crowd tried to lift Alcaraz as he began his attempt to come back from two sets behind and win for the first time in his young career.
He improved slightly and held his first four service games without a hitch, before digging deep to save a break point in the ninth game of the third set with a 5-4 lead up front.
That exit door brush energized the youngster and he soon brought two set points forward with a brilliant passing shot.
He only needed one to force a fourth set, which he first broke Zverev when the 25-year-old poked wide.
Alcaraz looked most likely to break through for much of the next set, but Zverev, aided by an incredible backhand, made a move in the ninth game when his opponent committed a double foul on a second breakpoint.
But Zverev failed to serve out the game, as Alcaraz hammered a beautiful return into the corner, then knocked out a backhand to break back straight away.
A tiebreak of the highest quality followed, with both players hitting a string of breathtaking winners.
A stunning backhand on the line gave Alcaraz the first set point, but he hit the net.
Zverev scored on his first match point, but soon brought in a second, which he grabbed with a thunderous backhand return.
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