Australian Open 2024: Alcaraz loses to Zverev and Medvedev beats Hurkacz
Carlos Alcaraz was knocked out of the Australian Open as Alexander Zverev held off a spirited comeback by the Spaniard to win an absorbing quarter-final at 01:20 local time.
Germany’s Zverev was rewarded for a rapid start to win 6-1 6-3 6-7 (2-7) 6-4 against Spanish second seed Alcaraz.
Zverev served for victory at 5-3 in the third set but Alcaraz burst into life.
However, the sixth seed made no mistake the second time around to set up a semi-final with Daniil Medvedev.
Earlier, third seed Medvedev won 7-6 (7-4) 2-6 6-3 5-7 6-4 against Poland’s ninth seed Hubert Hurkacz.
“I feel a bit destroyed right now,” said Medvedev, who clinched victory in just under four hours.
“He played good, I won’t be tough on myself. I just had to try and do whatever I could. If I lose, I lose, it’s OK.”
The 27-year-old Russian is aiming for a second Grand Slam title after winning the 2021 US Open, while Zverev is searching for a first major triumph.
The pair will meet when the men’s semi-finals take place on Friday, with defending champion Novak Djokovic facing Italian fourth seed Jannik Sinner.
Medvedev digs deep to neutralise Hurkacz
While Zverev will be aiming for his Melbourne final, Medvedev already has that experience, having been runner-up to Novak Djokovic in 2021 and Rafael Nadal in 2022.
Now he is one more victory away from a third shot at the title after seeing off Hurkacz.
Hurkacz is one of the finest servers in the game but Medvedev is one of the best returners – teeing up an intriguing duel between the pair.
Medvedev struck first by breaking the Pole’s serve early in the match but Hurkacz quickly recovered, before the Russian took control of the tie-break for the advantage.
With conditions again hot in Melbourne, Medvedev’s level dropped in the second set as Hurkacz picked up the pace in his groundstrokes as he moved level.
Medvedev recovered strongly at the start of third. Breaking confidently for 2-0, and digging deep to save five points in the games either side, was enough to regain his lead.
Another masterful returning game saw Medvedev go a break up early in the fourth and the contest looked to be heading towards a straightforward conclusion.
However, to the delight of the many Polish fans on Rod Laver Arena, Hurkacz hit back.
Rediscovering his confidence, the 2021 Wimbledon semi-finalist forced more mistakes from Medvedev and won five of the next six games to take the contest to a decider.
Neither player was troubled on serve in the opening six games until Hurkacz’s backhand was worn down by Medvedev and the Russian put away a volley on his first break point.
Still, it was not a simple ending. Medvedev faced another break point at 4-3, ducking under Hurkacz’s long return as he served and volleyed, then finally secured victory with a cute drop-shot on his first match point.
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