Alcaraz's US Open Title Defence Moves Into Top Gear
Top seed Carlos Alcaraz has moved to within two wins of successfully defending his US Open title after winning a heavy-hitting quarter-final battle 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 with top-ranked German Alexander Zverev Wednesday night in New York.
Looking to claim the prized Wimbledon-US Open double in the same season, the 20-year-old will face 2021 US Open champion Daniil Medvedev in Friday’s semi-finals, with a potential No. 1 vs. No. 2 final showdown with Novak Djokovic remaining a distinct possibility.
“I’m very, very comfortable playing in this court, playing here in New York. I am showing my best level here,” Alcaraz said.
“Last year was very tough, since the fourth round I played five sets [to get to the final]. Here I’ve played just one match that has gone to four sets. I feel great physically and I’m ready to play a great battle with Medvedev in the semi-finals.”
Although Zverev attempted to match Alcaraz’s power from the baseline, the Spaniard’s variety, speed and fresh legs gave him the edge over the German, who two days earlier toiled for four hours, 41 minutes to defeat Jannik Sinner in five sets, which marked just his second victory over a Top 10 player in Grand Slam play. In contrast, Alcaraz spent less than two hours on court in a straight-sets win over Matteo Arnaldi.
Alcaraz threw in a number of serve/volley plays, was an impressive 28 of 35 overall in net approaches and mixed in his usual quota of drop shots to keep his opponent off balance. He hit 29 winners to Zverev's 22 and saved all five break points he faced while converting all four break chances on his opponent's serve.
Zverev had a good night on first serve, putting 68 per cent of first serves into play and winning 73 per cent, but he won just seven of 25 points on his second serve.
Alcaraz improved to 24-1 in his past four Grand Slams played, going back to his title run at Flushing Meadows last year. (He missed this year’s Australian Open through injury.) Already a winner of six titles this year, Alcaraz improved to a Tour-best 58-6 match record on the season.
By reaching the quarter-finals Zverev has broken back into the Top 10 of the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings for the first time since last November. The two-time Nitto ATP Finals champion has also risen to eighth place in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin, inside the cut for this year’s season finale, to be held 12-19 November.
BEST 50-MATCH GRAND SLAM STARTS
(among World No. 1s)