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Alexander Zverev Stuns No. 2 Carlos Alcaraz in Australian Open Upset

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 24: Alexander Zverev of Germany celebrates winning match point during their quarterfinals singles match against Carlos Alcaraz of Spain during the 2024 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 24, 2024 in Melbourne, Australia. Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Revival acts rarely thrive against major demolition artists.

Riding a wrecking ball serve and calm competitive spirit, Alexander Zverev razed Carlos Alcaraz 6-1, 6-3, 6-7(2), 6-4 in a stirring Australian Open upset to reach his seventh Grand Slam semifinal.

Blown out by an imposing Zverev for two sets, Alcaraz delivered an electrifying surge of five straight winners to take the third-set tiebreaker and force a fourth set.

The Spaniard seemingly had all the momentum, but Zverev broke to open the fourth set, staged a superb stand to hold for 4-all and broke Alcaraz for 5-4 before serving out one of the most satisfying Grand Slam victories of his career.

There was fire, fragility and fierce finishing power from Zverev. The marathon man who has won two fifth-set tiebreakers in this tournament, has overcome all obstacles for his first AO semifinal since 2020.

The Olympic gold-medal champion scored his first career Top 5 win at a Grand Slam defeating Alcaraz for the fifth time in eight meetings.

“I’m playing one of the best players in the world, especially over the last two years, he’s been No. 1 or No. 2 constantly, he’s won two Grand Slams,” Zverev told Hall of Famer Jim Courier in his on-court interview. “When you’re up 6-1, 6-3, 5-2 you start thinking. We’re all human.

“It’s a great honor to play against guys like him. When you’re so close to winning your brain starts going and it’s not always helpful. But I’m happy I got it in the end. I think I fought back quite well in the fourth set, didn’t let go, and I’m very happy I finished the match.”

Zverev served 85 percent, smacking seven aces against one double fault and broke Alcaraz seven times.

The 26-year-old Zverev improved to 9-1 on the season advancing to a semifinal showdown vs. two-time AO finalist Daniil Medvedev.

The third-seeded Medvedev edged Hubert Hurkacz 7-6(4), 2-6, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 in a compelling four-hour quarterfinal. Medvedev hit 11 aces against 10 double faults and survived 61 winners from the ninth-seeded Pole.

It is Medvedev’s eighth career major semifinal, including his third final four appearance in the last four years at Melbourne Park.

“[Medvedev has] been kicking my ass a lot over the last year or so, but maybe this will be it,” said Zverev, who was 0-10 vs. Top 5-ranked opponents at majors before tonight’s triumph. “Maybe this will be the place. I’m counting on all of you guys’ support. I love playing in Australia.”

Zverev pulled the plug on Alcaraz’s comeback bid in an early-morning finish tonight.

The 20-year-old Spanish superstar was playing to become the fifth man in the Open Era to reach five major semifinals before celebrating his 21st birthday.

Fueled by a near-flawless serving performance, an oppressive Zverev snuffed out virtually any safe space for Alcaraz for two sets. Alcaraz, who arrived down under without coach Juan Carlos Ferrero (recovering from knee surgery), simply did not tactically adjust to a commanding Zverev for two sets.

By the time Alcaraz became Alcaraz it was too late to close ground on Zverev.

“Let’s say I’m glad to end in the third set playing great tennis. Then the beginning of the fourth set, I couldn’t stay at this level,” Alcaraz told the media in Melbourne. “It was a pity. But anyways, I found, you know, the way to break him, his serves again, and stay on the match. But, you know, I think I had chances, you know, in the 4-3 in the fourth set. I didn’t take it.

“I think I played good tennis in the fourth set. Obviously not to my best level, but, you know, it was a good one. Didn’t make my chances. You know, a lot of up-and-downs with my level, with my tennis, with the serves.

“I didn’t find a good serve. He was starting to or he was returning very well. So it was tough to deal with the pressure that he puts me in every point with my serve.”