Melbourne | Zverev and Medvedev clear tricky opponents to reach semi-finals

For the second time in his career, Alexander Zverev has reached the semi-finals of the Australian Open and he did it in dramatic style by defeating the second title favourite Carloa Alcaraz in four sets.

I fought back well in the fourth set, didn’t let go and very happy to have finished the match Alexander Zverev

After dominating the first two sets, the sixth seeded German served for the match only to stumble, thereby allowing the world No.2 to start what looked like a remarkable come-back.

For the first two sets it was the Zverev serve which locked Alcaraz out of the match, a serve which he backed up solidly with aggressive play and net domination.

He swept through those opening sets for the loss of just four games and looked set to storm into the last four to repeat the feat he achieved in 2020, when he stepped up to serve for the match at 5-2 in the third.

At that point Alcaraz, who had looked out of the match for the previous two hours, somehow came to life and took full advantage of a nervy service game from his opponent by breaking him and then held on to force a tiebreak and claim the set.

Carlos Alcaraz waves goodbye to Melbourne

(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

The momentum now switched away from Zverev but he in turn hung as Alcaraz mounted a serious fightback only to be broken crucially for 4-5 and give the German the opportunity to serve out for the second time.

On this occasion he held his nerve to win 6-1 6-3 6-7(5) 6-4 after three-hours and 5-minutes of gripping play, especially in the last two sets.

Next up for Zverev is Daniil Medvedev, the world No3, who came through a gruelling five setter to make the last four.

Reflecting on his quarter final win Zverev said: “I’m playing one of the best players in the world, in the last three years he’s been No.1 and No. 2 constantly.

“He’s won two Grand Slams and when you’re up 6-1 6-3 5-2 up, you start thinking. We’re all human… when you’re so close to winning, your brain starts going and it’s not always helpful. I’m happy that I got it in the end. I fought back well in the fourth set, didn’t let go and very happy to have finished the match.”

Earlier in the day Medvedev had survived a thorough examination by Hubert Hurkacz eventually defeating the Pole 7-6(4) 2-6 6-3 5-7 6-4 to make the Melbourne semi-finals for third time and would certainly like to make the final itself for a third time in his career.

Hurkacz, with three wins from five meetings with Medvedev, had the game to improve that record with his thundering serve which actually caused the Russian, who showed fatigue having come through a series of long matches, plenty of problems.

The world No. 3, though, secured the decisive break in the seventh game of the final set and held his nerve – and his serve – to make the last four. It was his 75th win at a major and his 100th match at that level.

“I’m so destroyed right now,” Medvedev said in his on-court interview.

“I [didn’t] run out of gas, but I was feeling very tough physically at the end of the second set already. So I needed to try and stay tough.

“I had to try my best to do whatever I [could], and if I lose, I lose, and go home, and it’s okay. I’m happy that I managed to win – and I really liked the match point.”

Daniil Medvedev hung on for nearly four hours

(Photo by Andy Cheung/Getty Images)

The success represented Medvedev’s 75th win at a major in his 100th match at that level.

Currently Medvedev leads Zverev 11 wins to 7 and is aiming for a second Grand Slam title after winning the 2021 US Open, while Zverev is searching for a first major triumph.

Zverev, 26, suffered a nasty injury when he tore ligaments in his right ankle during a French Open semi-final against Rafael Nadal in 2022, but has returned to the top of the sport.

“It was a very difficult moment obviously in my career and in my life generally,” said Zverev, who found out during the Australian Open he will is being tried in May over domestic abuse allegations which he vehemently denies.

“I had to start from zero. I’m happy to be back in the top 10. I’m happy to be back in major semi-finals and hopefully playing for titles again.”

Medvedev and Zverev will meet when the men’s semi-finals take place on Friday, with defending champion Novak Djokovic chasing his 11th AO title facing the Italian fourth seed Jannik Sinner who is hoping to claim his first..

Hubert Hurkacz kept Daniil Medvedev on his toes

(Photo by Shi Tang/Getty Images)



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