Alexander Zverev made no mistake with his second chance to close out a win over No. 2-ranked Carlos Alcaraz on Wednesday night and moved into an Australian Open semifinal against two-time finalist Daniil Medvedev.
The sixth-seeded Zverev was a up a break in the third set and missed a chance to serve it out but the Olympic champion didn’t blink when he got another chance in the fourth, finishing off a 6-1, 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-4 victory.
Alcaraz won Wimbledon last year and was the only player to beat 10-time Australian Open winner Novak Djokovic in a Grand Slam match in 2023. The 20-year-old Spaniard won’t get the chance in Australia this time.
It was Zverev’s first win over a top-5 player at a Grand Slam, and the reward was a spot in the semis for the seventh time at a major.
AUSTRALIAN OPEN DRAWS: Men | Women
Medvedev, a two-time finalist in Australia, outlasted ninth-seeded Hubert Hurkacz 7-6 (4), 2-6, 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 to make it to the semifinals at Melbourne Park for the third time in four years. Djokovic will play Jannik Sinner in the other semifinal.
Zverev said he’d been taking some beatings from Medvedev recently but “maybe this will be it. Maybe this will be the place.”
No. 12-seeded Zheng Qinwen and Ukrainian qualifier Dayana Yastremska won women’s quarterfinals on Day 11 and will play their first Grand Slam semi when they meet after a night sleep.
The sixth-seeded Zverev was on top of Alcaraz early, getting 16 of his 18 first serves into play in the first set and winning the point on all but two of them.
He got three set points when Alcaraz netted an attempted backhand drop shot and closed it out with an ace after 29 minutes.
In the second set, Alcaraz had break points in the sixth game but couldn’t convert and Zverev took it away from him with two service breaks to lead 2-0.
The German was serving for the match at 5-3 in the third, just after midnight, when Alcaraz broke for the first time. Alcaraz got back to 5-5 when he chased a shot into the doubles alley and knocked a backhand down the line, beaming a big smile and shaking his racket in a gesture that suggested: “Hello, still here.”
He won the last seven points of the tiebreaker to make it 2-1, flashing a big smile after earning four set points when he chased a ball wide and hit a forehand passing shot.
After an exchange of service breaks to open the fourth, Zverev got another chance to close out the match after breaking in the ninth game.
After clinching the win, the Olympic gold medalist let out of a scream of relief and shook his arms in celebration at about 1:20 a.m. local time.
Medvedev’s celebration was more like a sigh of relief. He led 4-2 in the fourth set but No. 9 Hurkacz rallied to force a fifth and took it to a grueling four hours.
The 2021 U.S. Open champion took the decisive break in the seventh game of the fifth and held on for victory, capped with a drop shot.
“I’m so destroyed right now,” Medvedev, his hands clasped behind his head, said in his on-court interview.
The No. 3-ranked Medvedev has had a tough run in Melbourne, including a nearly 4 1/2-hour, five-set second-round win that finished at 3:39 a.m.
The women’s semifinal lineup was completed when Zheng won 10 of the last 11 games to fend off Anna Kalinskaya 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-1 and Yastremska beat beat Linda Noskova 6-3, 6-4. Defending champion Aryna Sabalenka and U.S. Open winner Coco Gauff will meet in the other semifinal.
The 19-year-old Gauff beat Sabalenka in the U.S. Open final and is on a 12-match streak in majors. Sabalenka is on a 12-match winning run at Melbourne Park.
Zheng, a U.S. Open quarterfinalist last year, regained control midway through the second set after Kalinskaya won six of the last seven points to take the first set in a tiebreaker.
“Really excited. First time for me,” in the semifinals, Zheng said. “Of course I’m proud of myself. But this is just the beginning — I still need to play tomorrow. So I need to change fast the mentality.”
No. 93-ranked Yastremska is on a lengthy winning streak here, too. The Ukrainian won three matches in the qualifying tournament and became only the second qualifier to reach the women’s singles semis in Australia in the Open era.
“It’s nice to make history because at that time I was not born,” she said. “I’m super happy (but) very tired.”
Noskova beat top-ranked Iga Swiatek on her way to her first Slam quarterfinal but after getting an early break, was no match for Yastremska.
After the match, Yastremska wrote a message on a TV camera lens and later explained it was “about the Ukrainian fighters, that I’m very proud of them. They really deserve a huge respect.”
She said she’s inspired by representing her country, which has been at war for nearly two years since the Russian invasion.
“It’s my mission here,” she said. “If I do well, I can get — tough to express. I’m just trying to give the signal to Ukraine that I’m really proud of it.”