What a fight between Spanish shooting star Carlos Alcaraz (ATP no. 42) and Italian Wimbledon finalist Matteo Berrettini (ATP no. 7). After three sets and 2:40 hours, it was Alcaraz who left the center court as winner with standing ovations.
The first set might have offered a glimpse of the future of men’s tennis: Alcaraz steamrolled over Berrettini, jumping out to a 5-0 lead. With this back against the wall, Berrettini saved one set ball and cut the lead to 5-1. Alcaraz was unfazed, serving out the set 6-1.
Berrettini forces third set
In the second set Berrettini still had to fight while on serve but kept the match even. The logical consequence: a tie-break had to decide. And here it was Alcaraz who made an uncharacteristic mistake with the forehand to hand his opponent a 2-1 lead. Berrettini never looked back, taking the tie-break 7-2. 8 aces during the second set made life a whole lot easier for the Italian, however.
The third set was a brutal see-saw battle. Alcaraz broke Berrettini’s serve for a 3-1 lead but got broken himself two games later. Again, the set went to the tie-break, very much to the joy of the packed stands. This time it was Berrettini who helped his opponent with some unforced errors. At 6-3 for Alcatraz, Berrettinie was able to save two match points with strong first serves, but when it was Alcatraz’s turn to serve he immediately served out with a strong first serve of his own to win 6-1, 6-7 (2), 7-6 (5). With the win, Alcaraz moved on to his first semi final on ATP 500 level.
“It was an amazing match. In the second set I had some break chances but then he started to serve better. I never lost my confidence, though”, Alcaraz explained afterwards. “I waited on my chances.” Which he got in the third. “It was certainly one of my best performances to date.”
Zverev outlasts Auger-Aliassime
In the semis, the young Spaniard will face an even tougher test in reigning Olympic champion Alexander Zverev who had all hands full to dispatch Felix Auger-Aliassime (CAN/6) 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in more than 2 hours.
After a poised first set, the Canadian turned the tide in the second – once again because of some lack of concentration by the German. In the third set, one epic game decided it all. After approximately 15 minutes, Zverev converted his sixth break point in the game to get a 4-2 lead. After that, both players stayed on serve and Zverev bagged the match with his second match point.
“Nobody would have missed that one”
Zverev himself addressed his lack of concentration in the second set: “The volley I hit into the net at break point in the second set – nobody here in the stadium would have missed that one.” And he had lots of praise for his next opponent: “I already played him in Acapulco this year, but since then he’s improved a lot. I once said he could be top 10 in 2023, maybe he’ll get there even earlier…”
Alcaraz and Zverev will play the first of two semi finals on Saturday, starting at 2pm.