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Australian Open 2024: Zverev holds off Alcaraz comeback, books Medvedev last-four clash

By Primenewsghana
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Alexander Zverev notched a statement win Wednesday at the Australian Open.

The sixth-seeded German claimed his first Grand Slam victory against a Top 5 opponent by downing World No. 2 Alcaraz 6-1, 6-3, 6-7(2), 6-4 to reach the semi-finals at Melbourne Park for the second time.

Zverev successfully landed 85 percent of his first serves and went on to win 73 percent (69/94) of points behind his first delivery, according to Infosys Stats. His serve was the foundation for his dominance in the opening two and a half sets, when the German backed them up with some of his cleanest groundstrokes of the fortnight as he consistently absorbed Alcaraz’s power to great effect to move to the verge of victory at 6-1, 6-2, 5-2.

Alcaraz kick-started a comeback, however, when he broke Zverev for the first time in the match as the German served for victory at 5-3 in the third set. The Spaniard then lit up Rod Laver Arena with some stunning ball-striking en route to winning the tie-break, but Zverev held firm in the fourth for a three-hour, six-minute win.

“I was playing one of the best players in the world. Over the past two years he has been No. 1 or No. 2 constantly,” said Zverev in his on-court interview. “He’s won two Grand Slams, and when you are up 6-1, 6-3, 5-2, you start thinking.

“We are all human and it is a great honour to play against guys like him. When you’re so close to winning your brain starts going and it is not always helpful, but I’m happy that I got there in the end. I fought back quite well in the fourth set, didn’t let go and I’m very happy that I finished the match.”

It was Zverev’s second consecutive victory against Alcaraz after he also defeated the World No. 2 in November at the Nitto ATP Finals, and he now leads 5-3 in the pair’s Lexus ATP Head2Head series. The manner of his latest triumph against the 20-year-old Spaniard will be a huge confidence boost for a player who had not beaten a Top 5 opponent at a major in 10 previous attempts.

“I feel fine,” said Zverev when asked about his physical status after playing 21 sets across his five matches so far in Melbourne. “I have a lot of blood under my toenails which is quite painful, but I would much rather feel the way I’m feeling right now, with a bit of pain here and there but in the semi-finals, than be at home right now watching this tournament.

“I’m happy to be here and I’m ready to keep going.”

Up next for Zverev in Melbourne is a semi-final against Daniil Medvedev, who earlier edged Hubert Hurkacz 7-6(4), 2-6, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 to reach his third Australian Open semi-final. The pair has played 18 times on the ATP Tour, with Medvedev leading his rival 11-7, but Friday’s clash inside Rod Laver Arena will be their first meeting at a Grand Slam.

With his defeat, Alcaraz’s hopes of usurping the No. 1 spot in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings from Novak Djokovic this coming Monday were ended. The Serbian 10-time Australian Open champion will remain on top regardless of the result of his semi-final clash with Jannik Sinner.