Alexander Zverev knocks out Carlos Alcaraz: Australian Open 2024 quarter-finals – as it happened | Australian Open 2024

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Thanks for reading, and for your emails. What a day of tennis. Join us again tomorrow for more of the same. Congratulations to Alexander Zverev and Zheng Qinwen, who both clinched their spots in the Australian Open semi-finals.

Match report

Should also flag that it’s nearly 2am in Melbourne, and would possibly have gone beyond 3am if we had gone to a fifth set.

Worth mentioning that Zverev was limping back to the dressing room. He’s obviously struggling with some knocks, and mentioned his toenails in that post-match interview. I hope it’s not something more serious, it would be a huge shame if he’s not fit to face Medvedev on Friday.

“Great match,” emails Frank Holahan. “And a gift for The Joker. Novak will likely add to his horde of championship hardware. The young Spaniard’s time will come. Let’s enjoy the Serb’s reign a bit longer as we did Federer’s. Nice reporting from Down Under.”

The first two sets from Zverev were almost flawless. He was serving at nearly 90% first serve, and otherwise dominated each rally from the baseline and the net. Alcaraz really showed up in the third set, winning that tie-break from a ridiculous position and I thought we were destined to go to a fifth set. But Alcaraz had a really poor game at 4-4 in the fourth, gifted a break to Zverev, and the German made no mistake with his own serve. A really gutsy display. Was this Zverev’s best ever victory, considering the opponent and circumstances?

Zverev talks to the cameras:

When you’re 6-1, 6-3, 5-2, you start thinking (of winning’). Your brain starts going. But I’m playing one of the best players in the world. But I’m really pleased of the way I fought back in the fourth set. I stayed mentally strong.

On whether he is injured?

I feel fine. I have quite a lot of blood under my toenails. Every time I play they come out. But I would rather be in a bit of pain and in the semi-finals of the Australian Open.

I was one win away from being world No 1. But then I got injured. I’m happy to be back in the top 10.

Zverev will play Medvedev in the semi-finals.

He’s been kicking my ass in recent matches. I’m hoping that this will be place that that changes. We the players say that the US Open has the loudest crowd, but I think the Australian Open crowd is the best. They have real tennis knowledge. They are respectful, they know when to be loud, when to be quiet. I hope I can get some support for the match with Medvedev.

Zverev beats Alcaraz in four sets! The German prevails 6-1, 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-4!

We are into the fourth hour of this match. Zverev is definitely limping but within touching distance of the semi-finals and rips a bomb up the T to take a 30-15 lead. Alcaraz senses weakness in Zverev’s movement though, and after getting another heavy serve back, he claws his way back to 30-30 with a delicious drop shot. The cojones! Next, another astounding point, as the ball hits Alcaraz’s frame, spins wildly over the stadium seats and somehow spins back into court. Zverev is scrambling but then Alcaraz’s bunts an easy backhand long! Match point for Zverev … and the German takes his chance! He’s won, and through to the semis! How did he win that fourth set, with an injury, fatigue and against the momentum and talent of Alcaraz. An outrageous tennis match.

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Zverev* 6-1, 6-3, 6-7 (2), 5-4 Alcaraz (* denotes next server)

Now then. Out of nowhere, Alcaraz gifts Zverev two points on his serve, and suddenly Zverev has two break points … and he converts the first! WOW, WOW, WOW. Who on earth saw this coming?! Certainly not me. But as Alcaraz comes to the net at 15-40, and Zverev belts a textbook backhand up the line, suddenly the 26-year-old has a second opportunity to serve for the match. Ridiculous.

Zverev 6-1, 6-3, 6-7 (2), 4-4 Alcaraz* (* denotes next server)

Zverev zooms to 40-0 up, but Alcaraz fights back to deuce. Two things of concern for Zverev: he appeared to limp after chasing down an Alcaraz drop shot, is that an injury, or just fatigue? Also, the forehand looks weak.

At deuce, one of the most ridiculous points of tennis I’ve ever seen. Zverev has three or four point at the net to finish Alcaraz off, but the Spaniard somehow defends, punting a spinning high shot into the night’s sky to Zverev’s baseline. Credit to the German, he wins the point. But Alcaraz’s talent is absolutely ridiculous. “You just have to laugh”, remarks Kyrgios in the TV commentary.

You know what I was saying about Zverev’s forehand. Forget that. Zverev rips one down the line and then another devastating blow cross-court to seal the game, sealing a sensational hold in the face of some mind-blowing tennis. What a shot from the German. Four-all in the fourth, all square.

Zverev races for a backhand. Photograph: Asanka Brendon Ratnayake/AP

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Zverev* 6-1, 6-3, 6-7 (2), 3-4 Alcaraz (* denotes next server)

Alcaraz holds to 15. Zverev looks like he’s holding on for the tie-break.

Zverev 6-1, 6-3, 6-7 (2), 3-3 Alcaraz* (* denotes next server)

Incredible shotmaking from Alcaraz, who is probably the best player on Tour when it comes to turning defence to offence. Zverev, though, serves well and also comes to the net to close out the game and tie things up at 3-3. If Zverev wants to win this match, he needs to come to the net more often. Be more aggressive. If he is passive, Alcaraz will take his chances.

Zverev* 6-1, 6-3, 6-7 (2), 3-2 Alcaraz (* denotes next server)

Zverev is winning this match, but he looks spent when chasing down the Alcaraz groundstrokes. Alcaraz is still losing this match, and we’re still on serve in this fourth set, but I would be shocked if we don’t go to a fifth. Alcaraz’s momentum is unrelenting. Alcaraz holds, he’s 3-2 up.

Zverev 6-1, 6-3, 6-7 (2), 2-2 Alcaraz* (* denotes next server)

Excellent serving from Zverev, who holds easily, but it’s hard to believe that he was serving for the match less than an hour ago. Zverev has only lost one match in his whole career when he was two sets up, and that was the 2020 US Open final.

Zverev* 6-1, 6-3, 6-7 (2), 1-2 Alcaraz (* denotes next server)

Alcaraz is cooking on gas, now. He’s scampering around like a man possessed and there is more umph to all his shots. He sends a 209km/hr ace down and holds his serve with Zverev clipping the net with a tired forehand – this is the shot that has let the German down in the past few games. There is little aggression from Zverev, apart from when he comes to the net. We’re on serve in the fourth set.

Alcaraz reaches for a forehand.
Excellent scampering from Alcaraz. Photograph: Louise Delmotte/AP

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Zverev 6-1, 6-3, 6-7 (2), 1-1 Alcaraz* (* denotes next server)

Alcaraz breaks straight back, despite an excellent volley for Zverev at the net (25/34 in the forecourt, which is an excellent return against someone like Alcaraz). Zverev is waning, he’s not as quick to these Alcaraz drop shots and the court is opening up for the Spaniard.

Zverev* 6-1, 6-3, 6-7 (2), 1-0 Alcaraz (* denotes next server)

Alcaraz slumps to 15-30 down before an incredible point. Zverev somehow gets to a drop shot at the net, flicks it over. Alcaraz has all the time in the world to pick his stop with Zverev stranded, but the German guesses right and somehow volleys the ball back over from point-blank range. Alcaraz has no answer! Two break points for Zverev, and he converts the second, wearing down his opponent from the baseline! An early break, and Zverev’s sixth of the match!

Zverev definitely dropped his level in the third set, and the pace on his groundstrokes in that third set. He went from dominating the points to handing Alcaraz the initiative. It was then up to the Spaniard to either make the shots, or make the errors. He did the former, but encouraging here for Zverev in the fourth.

Mentally and physically, and now with the crowd against him, this has now become an absolutely exhausting encounter for Zverev, who is now receiving some sort of treatment from the trainer during the interval. Remember, Zverev has spent more than five more hours on court than Alcaraz so far in this tournament. More miles on the clock, will be interesting to see if Zverev fades in the fourth, or if he can rally.

Alcaraz wins the third set! He trails two sets to one. It’s 6-1, 6-3, 6-7 (2)

Alcaraz forces Zverev into an error and Rod Laver erupts. “He’s a joke” squeals a giggling Nick Kyrgios in the commentary box. “This could go the distance now”.

The crowd celebrate
Alcaraz has the crowd on his side as he pulls a set back. Photograph: Edgar Su/Reuters

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Zverev 6-1, 6-3, 6-6 (2-6) Alcaraz

Alcaraz put Zverev on his arse with a sensational backhand down the line. Zverev looks like he’s got a grazed elbow, but the German dusts himself up and returns to his feet. Alcaraz is on flames though, and the crowd are willing him on, pleading for the match to continue.

Three absolutely unreal points for Alcaraz. The passing shots, the defensive work is absolutely sublime. At full-pelt Alcaraz sprints to his right, and whacks a perfect winner up the line past the advancing Zverev. Four set points for the Spaniard, who was staring down the barrell about 15 minutes ago …

Zverev takes a tumble.
Zverev takes a tumble. Photograph: Louise Delmotte/AP

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Zverev 6-1, 6-3, 6-6 (2-3) Alcaraz

Ridiculous from Alcaraz! First he passes Zverev at the net with a winner he had no right to make, and repeats the trick to move ahead. Zverev should be 4-1 up but he’s 2-3 down!

Zverev 6-1, 6-3, 6-6 (2-0) Alcaraz

Zverev’s big booming groundstrokes are gone, but the German is staying in the rallies, moving around the baseline and grinding it out. It’s Alcaraz that is making the errors, first with a wayward drop shot and then a forehand that drifts long. He moves 2-0 up in the tie-break!

Zverev* 6-1, 6-3, 6-6 Alcaraz (* denotes next server)

Alcaraz bunts a forehand halfway up the net but that’s where the silliness stops. Alcaraz is back to his best here, with a real pep in his step, as he holds to force a tie-break. How Zverev will want to end this here. Give Alcaraz this set, and he might take the match. That said, Alcaraz has never come back to win from two sets down!

Zverev 6-1, 6-3, 6-5 Alcaraz* (* denotes next server)

While it’s true that the momentum is with Alcaraz, Zverev is still pretty dominant on his serve, particularly the wide ones that leave Alcaraz with an ocean of court to cover for his second shot. Zverev holds with ease and Alcaraz will once again have to serve to stay in this match.

*Zverev 6-1, 6-3, 5-5 Alcaraz

Hi everyone. A huge point, with Alcaraz 15-30 down, as Zverev makes an unforced error. What was potentially two match points becomes 30-30! Alvaraz moves brilliantly to the net to close out the game, and suddenly we are 5-5! It felt like this third set was going to be a procession. All square in the third!

Michael is back to take you through the rest of this match. Is this the final set? Let’s see.

*Zverev 6-1, 6-3, 5-4 Alcaraz (* denotes next server)

Alcaraz hits first and the crowd are electric. They want to see more of this tennis. It’s the first time Alcaraz is 30-0 in this match and all of a sudden it is Zverev who is under huge pressure after he falls victim to some fantastic forehands.

But wow, some fantastic aces from Zverev puts them on even footing. Kyrgios calls the German’s serves “unreturnable” from the commentary box.

But he can’t keep the momentum up. He is so passive all of a sudden during the rally at 30-30 and his gamble does not pay off as he nets.

What a lift from Alcaraz who then breaks after a crosscourt forehand and an unbelievable volley! Is this the beginning of the comeback?

Zverev 6-1, 6-3, 5-3 Alcaraz* (* denotes next server)

Good pressure from Alcaraz now. He’s allowing himself to be more patient now by dragging Zverev out and not forcing winners. It is likely too little too late as we now get to see Zverev serving for the match.

*Zverev 6-1, 6-3, 5-2 Alcaraz (* denotes next server)

The German starts the game shaky but he keeps going back to that big first serve, which takes him 40-15 after Alcaraz hits two returns long in a row.

He closes out the game with an incredible change of direction that leaves Alcaraz no chance.

The German is one game away from booking his spot in the semi-final.

Zverev 6-1, 6-3, 4-2 Alcaraz* (* denotes next server)

Alcaraz goes 40-0 with some much better serving. He’s hitting so much closer to the line and is finally showing some versatility to leave Zverev guessing.

He then wins the game with a fantastic lob over Zverev after bringing him closer to the net.

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*Zverev 6-1, 6-3, 4-1 Alcaraz (* denotes next server)

More fantastic serving from the German. So far, he has only missed seven first serves in the entire match. He is giving his opponent no chance to gain some rhythm from the back of the court.

The rare time Alcaraz is able to return a serve, the two get a rally going but the Spaniard nets a forehand and his hands are on his knees as the crowd at the Rod Laver Arena try to give him a boost. It has seemed to work as he gets to deuce after a couple of well hit shots force Zverev to rush and hit the ball out.

The momentum is short lived though, and Alcaraz’s unforced errors continue to creep in as Zverev goes 4-1 up.

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Zverev 6-1, 6-3, 3-1 Alcaraz* (* denotes next server)

The German has found a pattern on how to hurt Alcaraz and he goes up 40-30 in the fourth game of the third set. But Alcaraz takes it to deuce after Zverev nets a backhand. The Spaniard takes the advantage after a really strong serve but after a short rally he hits a relatively easy shot well far and we go back to deuce.

Alcaraz then double faults and then cannot commit to a rally, handing Zverev the game. Wow! The world No 2 is really losing his head here.

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