Zverev y AlcarazZverev y Alcaraz (Photo by Christophe ARCHAMBAULT / AFP)

Roland Garros

The Spaniard, very erratic in the first two sets, had the ball to go to the fifth set, but ended up losing in three hours and 18 minutes (6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 [7]).

An extraordinary backhand return by Alexander Zverev put an end to Carlos Alcaraz at Roland Garros. The crowd gave a moving ovation to the Spanish player, who returned the affection with applause. The world number three won in three hours and 18 minutes and will repeat in the semifinals of the tournament, which he lost last year to Stefanos Tsitsipas. Alcaraz insinuated a spectacular comeback, finding his best game already two sets down. He won the third, went to the tiebreaker, had the ball to go to the fifth set, and even saved a match point in the rest, but ended up losing the match with his serve.

Alcaraz had more than enough arguments to feel like a favorite. Not in vain, he had just won conclusively against the German in the final of Madrid. In addition, he had taken cruising speed in the tournament after the match ball neutralized against Ramos-Viñolas in the second round. It was a match between two survivors, as Zverev also escaped a match point against the Argentine Baez in the same instance, in addition to lifting two adverse sets. But the Spaniard had better consolidated his resurrection, with clear victories against Korda and Khachanov.

Alcaraz was not expected to be so erratic in the first two sets. Nor such a firm Zverev, from his excellent numbers with the service. The Hamburg, who committed a double fault in the second option to escape two sets to zero, took advantage of the third with a direct serve, after his rival wasted a ball to equalize at five. There was some disenchantment in the stands, predisposed in favor of a boy who has taken little time to win the hearts of the French public.

Diluted in the first two sets

Pushed away from the baseline by the power of Zverev, with serious difficulties when it came to subtract his services in conditions, Alcaraz was diluted, not very accurate also in the selection of strokes. It was 14 consecutive victories, after arriving in Paris with consecutive titles in Barcelona and Madrid. In his fourth appearance in the quarterfinals of the tournament, Zverev, double winner of the ATP Finals and with a total of 19 titles on his back, unlike other occasions, this time he lived up to his rank.

Nothing had worked for Alcaraz, except for his drop shots. He came out of a critical moment in the ninth game of the third set, at 4-4, saving a break point with a forehand drop shot, to the delight of the numerous fans who chanted his name. It was the Spaniard who managed to break next and take the set to start the comeback.

Return at any price

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