PARIS — Alexander Zverev, the No. 3 seed, returned to the semifinals of the French Open with a 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (7) victory over Carlos Alcaraz on Tuesday, ending the Spanish 19-year-old’s stirring run at Roland Garros.
Zverev, a 25-year-old German, additionally snuffed out Alcaraz’s rousing comeback on this quarterfinal. Zverev, crushed by Alcaraz within the Madrid Open remaining forward of the French Open, was the extra constant and convincing participant for almost three units. “I think letting him go ahead in the match and letting him get the confidence was going to be a very difficult thing for me to come back from,” Zverev mentioned.
But Alcaraz, on the point of being rapidly eradicated, did raise his recreation. As standard, that was fairly a sight, as he produced delicate drop photographs, audacious returns, reflexive volleys and full-cut forehand winners that left the 6-foot-6 Zverev staring wistfully on the ball marks on the purple clay courtroom.
Alcaraz, just like the top-seeded Novak Djokovic, is half tennis participant, half gymnast. And with a flurry of good and acrobatic tennis, Alcaraz, the No. 6 seed, took the third set. With one other surge late within the fourth set, he broke Zverev’s serve when he was serving for the match at 5-4. This all-court duel, by this stage, was properly worthy of a tiebreaker, and each males produced excellence beneath duress but additionally cracked.
Alcaraz had a set level at 6-5 within the tiebreaker and did not convert it when he made an unforced error along with his backhand into the highest of the web. Zverev missed a backhand of his personal on his first match level in the course of the tiebreaker.
It was now 7-7 and the chants of “Carlos, Carlos” had been solely getting louder. But Zverev, with the group and the circulation towards him, steeled himself, successful the subsequent two factors to shut out the match. He completed off the victory with a daring backhand return winner down the road that Alcaraz, one of many quickest males in tennis, couldn’t come near reaching.
“It is one shot I like, it’s true,” Zverev mentioned, grinning all through his post-match information convention, which he began by elevating each his arms in triumph.
“I’ve done it a lot in my career,” he mentioned of his backhand return winner. “But I had to win the match myself, I felt I was going to either miss it by a country mile or hit a winner, and I hit a winner, which I’m quite pleased about.”
Alcaraz, within the midst of a breakthrough season, has nonetheless performed in solely 4 Grand Slam tournaments.
“I leave the court, leave the tournament with the head very high,” he mentioned. “I fight until the last ball. I fought until the last second of the match, and I’m proud of it.”
But the best-of-five-set format stays one other kind of problem than the best-of-three-set selection performed on the common tour. For now, Alcaraz’s greatest leads to the majors are quarterfinal runs on the U.S. Open final 12 months and now in Paris.
“I didn’t start well, and in this level, quarterfinal of a Grand Slam, you are playing against the best players in the world, so you have to start the match better than I did today,” Alcaraz mentioned. “I have to take the lesson. I mean, I have to improve to the next Grand Slam or next matches. But I would say I’m not far away to reach a semifinal or be able to win a Grand Slam.”
Zverev, a semifinalist at Roland Garros final 12 months, clearly felt the percentages had been towards him on Tuesday in mild of Alcaraz’s current outcomes. Alcaraz had gained the Barcelona and Madrid titles back-to-back on purple clay and resumed rolling at Roland Garros after saving a match level towards his Spanish compatriot Albert Ramos-Viñolas within the second spherical.
“I knew I had to play my absolutely best tennis today from the start, and I’m happy I did that,” Zverev mentioned. “Obviously he kept on coming back. He’s an incredible player. I told him at the net, he’s going to win this tournament a lot of times, not only once, and I just hope I can win it before he starts beating us all, and we’ll have no chance at all.”
Zverev, regardless of his positive efficiency (and evident reduction) on Tuesday, continues to be a good distance from successful his first Grand Slam singles title. In the semifinals, he’ll face the winner of Tuesday’s second match: an evening session between Djokovic and the fifth-seeded Rafael Nadal, who has gained the French Open a file 13 instances.
“It’s not really getting easier from here,” mentioned Zverev, nonetheless wanting delighted. “But I said a lot of times, I’m not 20 or 21 years old anymore; I’m 25. I am at the stage where I want to win, I’m at the stage where I’m supposed to win, as well.”