Revengeful, Alexander Zverev dominates Carlos Alcaraz and reaches the semi-finals

He had been walking on water since the beginning of the year. The ocher dust of Roland-Garros suddenly brought him back to earth. New headliner of world tennis, the Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz left the Parisian Grand Slam tournament in the quarter-finals, Tuesday May 31, eliminated by the German Alexander Zverev (6-4, 6-4, 4-6 , 7-6).

Before the gala match between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal in the evening, the (tele-) spectators had the right to an enticing appetizer on paper. “Best player in the world” of the moment according to his opponent of the day, whom he had beaten three weeks ago in Madrid, the 19-year-old Spaniard learned the hard way how heavy a status of favorite in a Grand Slam tournament was.

Read also: Article reserved for our subscribers Roland-Garros: Carlos Alcaraz, future general of world tennis

On the Philippe-Chatrier court bathed in light, the German took control from the start of the game, facing a too imprecise Carlos Alcaraz, his forehand remaining abnormally in his racket (16 unforced errors in the first set). Serene, the reigning Olympic champion could count on his master weapon, his service, and distributed the game from the baseline. Carlos Alcaraz, whose science of the game impresses observers despite his young age, was at a loss for a solution.

Ostensibly annoyed by his level of play, Juan Carlos Ferrero’s protege was out of first balls and confused speed and haste, hampered by his opponent’s heavy and deep strikes. The “Vamos Carlitos” did not change anything, the second set saw repeating the scenario of the first.

Zverev all in self-control

After a hair-raising start to the spring, which propelled him to the gates of the top 5 in the world, the Murcian, on Tuesday, was suddenly his age. Impulsive, unable to control his frustration and reverse the situation, unlike an Alexander Zverev until then all in self-control. Up to 4-4 in the 3e set, where he saved a break point and took the German’s serve for the first time to recover two sets to one.

The Spaniard began to deliver a festival of amortizations, his indulgence, and began, finally, to let go of his shots, his fist clenched. He dropped his face-off at the worst moment, at 4-4, before seizing his opponent’s and then taking him to the tiebreak where the two players competed in skill. Carlos Alcaraz saved a first match point, not the second. Alexander Zverev could evacuate all his rage wisely contained throughout the match.

The rage of Alexander Zverev, after his victory against Carlos Alcaraz in the quarter-finals.

Winner in quick succession in Barcelona, ​​in April, then Madrid, in early May, Carlos Alcaraz had ticked off the meeting at the Porte d’Auteuil by assuming his change of dimension. Twelve months ago, the kid from El Palmar had won his place in the main draw at Roland-Garros, going through the qualifications and had just entered the top 100. “This time I think people will see me as a favourite, but I don’t take it as extra pressure, more like a source of motivation. I believe I’m ready to win a Grand Slam.” he had assured, after his title in Madrid.

Proof of his maturity, despite his young age (he celebrated his 19th birthday on May 5), he had adjusted his calendar by renouncing at the last moment the Masters 1000 in Rome, traditional dress rehearsal for the Parisian Grand Slam, to preserve his twisted right ankle in Madrid’s Caja Magica. In the Spanish capital, Alcaraz scored a big blow, beating Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. A first in the same tournament on ochre.

Most successful match for Zverev

“For guys like Novak [Djokovic], Rafa [Nadal] and roger [Federer], they want it so badly that it’s obvious to them. But I’ve been in that position, dreaming of winning a Grand Slam, and I think it’ll be interesting to see how the newbies like Carlos Alcaraz fare.” said on the eve of the start of the Parisian tournament Alexander Zverev, who had never beaten any top 10 in Grand Slam.

Read also: Roland-Garros: the “Next Gen” dethroned before even reigning?

Finalist at the US Open in 2020, semi-finalist in New York and here in 2021, the German will try, Friday June 3, to win his ticket for his first final, Porte d’Auteuil. “It was tough, but I knew I had to play at my best level. Carlos is amazing. He’s going to win this tournament many times, and I was hoping to take my chance, before he started.”underlined the winner of the day at the microphone of Alex Corretja, who will face Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals.

So far, he had had a complicated start to the fortnight. At the edge of the void against the Argentinean Sebastian Baez in the second round (2-6, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 7-5), the world number three had not impressed in the following matches against two opponents well within reach, respectively 75e and 131e world: the American Brandon Nakashima (7-6, 6-3, 7-6) and the Spaniard Bernabe Zapata Miralles (7-6, 7-5, 6-3).

“At the start of my career, I had a lot of trouble with the Grand Slams, admitted Zverev this week. I was winning in one tournament, and then I was struggling in the next. I hope to be able to continue to remain stable in the future. »

For Carlos Alcaraz, the return to earth will be painful to take. But it would be wrong to forget that at 19 his story with Roland-Garros is just beginning.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here