Zverev stops the Alcaraz effect

Although he has only been in a professional career for two years, Carlos Alcaraz has already found his nemesis, the opponent who knows best how to hurt him: Alexander Zverev. The 25-year-old German, number three in the world, overcame him in his first two clashes, last year in Acapulco and in Vienna. A few weeks ago the trend was reversed, with a landslide victory for the Murcian in the final of the Mutua Madrid Open, and this Tuesday at Roland Garros, with the Chatrier crowd against him, the German regained control with an incontestable victory by 6 -4, 6-4, 4-6 and 7-6 (7) at 3h18 that takes the 19-year-old prodigy out of his first Grand Slam semifinal and puts him in the fifth of his career, the second in a row in Paris. He will face Novak Djokovic or Rafa Nadal on Friday. “I shit my pants,” Zverev said humorously, but with some anguish still in his body, to Corretja when he asked how he was able to close the match.

Until now, nobody has been able to with Carlitos in three occasions. There is something in Zverev’s game, perhaps the serve, that the boy chokes on. And Sascha embroidered it not only in that aspect, but also in the direction of the party. The 2020 US Open finalist was convinced that he would play Alcaraz at night and he didn’t want to. “My serve is going to be slower, my forehand too”he warned. But they competed during the day and that benefited him, because he did not tire of serving cannon shots and hit the ball with a mixture of viciousness and precision, seasoned with a thirst for revenge, against which Charly could not. Although when the sun went away he suffered: “I had to adjust my strength. I’m extremely happy that I didn’t have to play five sets.”

The Spanish did some mischief and left the Teutonic cold. He pulled epic and, however, did not escape a pedagogical defeat, which comes after a streak of 14 wins, and which teaches him that he still has to learn and experiment. Zverev’s evolution is an example of how difficult it is, in today’s tennis, to reach the top very quickly. With a record of 19 titles, five from Masters 1,000 and two from ATP Finals, he has not yet been a champion in a major, a category in which until now he had not been able to beat a top-10 (1-11). Fortunately, for Alcaraz, he will not have Nadal, Djokovic and Federer as rivals for so long.

The start of the game was misleading, because Zverev did not give one and Alcaraz seemed launched. In fact, he had a break ball in his first game of return. The Hamburger saved her and from then on he was clearly superior. He dedicated himself to playing with less risk, to sending the ball with tracers and, supported by accurate serves, he lost very few points on serve (six in the first set). With the confidence that the serve gave him, He took advantage of his second chance to break and did not give up the precious advantage he had achieved against a somewhat failing rival (16 unforced errors for a total of 56).

Things didn’t get any better for Carlos in the second moto. Zverev continued to dictate the pace of the match with low and low-flying backhands., which prevented the Spaniard from entering more often with his powerful drive. The German’s pulse did not tremble when he served, he held his own, first to secure the 2-2, then to break with a 15-40 and finally to close the set after saving a break point. Red alert in the Alcaraz box, which had already gone through a very delicate moment in the second round, when Albert Ramos had a ball to win the game.

A great last set

But this time the difference was two sleeves. She cut it short thanks to a couple of great games for her part in the third. In one he raised a break point, which was almost a set, and in the other he furiously attacked Zverev, moved him and brought him into the net. People, disrespectful, anticipated the resolution of Carlos’s last point, provoking Alexander’s anger, who protested to the chair umpire. That didn’t throw him off. He stormed back onto the track. And both he and Alcaraz offered the best moments of the match. Alcaraz went into feline mode and his opponent was not far behind. Both competed with pride and grit.

But it was the day of the best promoted NextGen exponent and he launched himself for victory with two excellent points to the rest. It was helped by a very untimely double fault from the El Palmar wonder boy. However, he did not give up and responded to a match kick with another break to stretch the drama. The fate of the meeting led to a tiebreaker. Zverev started it with a wonderful drop shot. Alcaraz came back, but then he made a mistake with a badly executed serve-net. He fixed it with a right hand down the line. Then the German hit him with a spectacular pass before Charly tricked him with two drop shots. Each point was a work of art. Much success, few failures. And the finishing touch with an impressive Sascha backhand return winner to end the fourth chapter of a rivalry that promises.

Roland Garros ATP Draw Results

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