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MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – Alexander Zverev served up a huge shock at the Australian Open on Wednesday, January 24, by stunning second seed Carlos Alcaraz to make the semifinals, after third seed Daniil Medvedev fought hard to avoid an upset at the hands of Hubert Hurkacz.
Zverev was near-flawless on his delivery early in the clash at Rod Laver Arena and the sixth seed took advantage of mistakes from the racket of Alcaraz to lay the foundation for a 6-1, 6-3, 6-7(2), 6-4 victory.
Two years on from Rafa Nadal’s “Miracle of Melbourne” when the Spaniard battled from two sets down to beat Medvedev in the final, his 20-year-old compatriot came to life by edging the third set but there would be no escape for Alcaraz.
Battling fatigue and an issue with his toes, German Zverev held firm in the face of relentless pressure to secure the win and set up a Friday semifinal showdown with Medvedev, who has won 11 of their 18 previous meetings.
“I’m extremely happy to be back where I am and winning these kind of matches and giving myself the chance again,” Zverev said. “Because last year, for the first part of the season, or actually throughout the year, I wasn’t a Slam contender.
“I wasn’t a contender to win tournaments like that. If I am now, I’m very happy about that.”
Alcaraz was not pleased with his game on the day but left with his head held high.
“In general, I did a pretty good tournament,” Alcaraz said. “I played great matches. Obviously quarterfinal of a Grand Slam is good. It’s not what I’m looking for, but it’s not bad.”
Third seed Medvedev, who lost back-to-back Melbourne Park finals in 2021 and 2022, pounced on the few chances offered up by Pole Hurkacz to get closer to returning to the title clash with a 7-6(4), 2-6, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 win.
He had looked on course to wrap up the match in four sets before ninth seed Hurkacz grew in belief and forced a decider, where Russian Medvedev broke for a 4-3 lead and soaked up the applause before serving out to seal the win.
“I knew how ‘Hubi’ can play and he played quite well. I felt like the games, almost all of them, probably except 2-0 in the first set, I had a small chance,” Medvedev said.
“I managed to take it. Really happy and proud about that. Because with him you don’t get many chances.”
The former US Open champion has sometimes found it hard to get the Melbourne Park crowd on his side but has received great backing this year and will hope to ride that support when he plays Zverev. – Rappler.com