Alexander Zverev beat Carlos Alcaraz in a dramatic four-set clash on Tuesday to secure a French Open semi-final with either Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal. The German third seed earned 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 started his second consecutive match in the last four at Roland Garros with his first-ever Grand Slam victory against a top-10 player.
“I hope I can win before he starts beating all of us and we don’t have a chance,” Zverev said.
“The match was turning in his direction. I’m extremely happy to win the tie-break.”
The 2020 US Open runner-up will face world number one Djokovic or 13-time champion Nadal – who will meet later on Tuesday – in the semi-finals on Friday.
Alcaraz has won four titles this year, including two Masters 1000 events, but committed 56 unforced errors as 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 maintain his bid for a maiden title at one of the sport’s biggest four 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 audience at Court Philippe Chatrier with an exchange to win the third set.
A dramatic fourth set saw Zverev miss a chance to serve in the tie, but he sealed victory with his second match point in the tie-break.
Zverev resists the fightback
Alcaraz paid for making 16 unforced errors as Zverev took the opener with the only break in game five.
It was also the world number three who drew first blood in set number two, as Alcaraz scored a second break point in game seven, before a confident Love hold gave Zverev a advantage of 5-3.
Alcaraz managed to lift for an attack on Zverev’s next service game, but the German saved a break chance and managed to close it for a two-set buffer on his third set point with an ace.
The crowd tried to lift Alcaraz as he tried to come back after two sets and win for the first time in his young career.
He improved slightly and held his first four service games without a problem, before digging deep to save a break point in the ninth game of the third set to take a 5-4 lead in front.
That contact with the exit door energized the youngster, and he quickly netted two set points with a brilliant passing shot.
He only needed one to force a fourth set, breaking Zverev for the first time as the 25-year-old pulled 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 double faulted on a second break point.
But Zverev failed to serve out the game as Alcaraz hammered in a magnificent return from the corner and then whipped a backhand to come back.
A tie-break of the highest quality ensued, with both players picking up a breathtaking winning streak.
A superb backhand down the line gave Alcaraz the first set point, but he missed the net.
Zverev scored on his first match point but quickly brought a second, which he took with a thunderous backhand return.
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