Alexander Zverev halted the march of young gun Carlos Alcaraz in the quarterfinal of the French Open on Tuesday.
The third seed powered to a second-straight semi-final at the clay-court Grand Slam, staving off an Alcaraz fightback to earn a 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6(7) victory over the 19-year-old Spaniard.
Zverev next faces a semi-final showdown with World No. 1 Novak Djokovic or 13-time champion Rafael Nadal.
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“At the end of the day I knew I had to play my best,” Zverev said in the on-court interview.
“I told him at the net he is going to win it a lot of times. I hope I win before he gives us no chance at all.
“The match was turning his way so I am very happy I won the tie-breaker and didn’t have to play a five-set match, lose a five-set match like I did last year.”
This was Zverev’s first win over a top-10 player in a Grand Slam in 14 meetings.
Having lost to Alcaraz in straight sets in the final of the Madrid Open in early May, Zverev appeared eager to prove a point in his first Grand Slam meeting with the World No. 6.
The German stayed aggressive throughout the three-hour, 18-minute encounter on Court Philippe Chatrier, dominating the early baseline exchanges and frequently reading the Alcaraz drop shot to open up a two-set lead.
Alcaraz channelled the support of an enraptured crowd to raise his game and claim the third set, but Zverev’s big serve proved crucial in blunting the Spaniard’s comeback as he sealed victory in a dramatic fourth-set tie-break.