The Spanish Carlos Alcaraznumber two in the world, reconciled this Monday with his best version to surpass the Serbian Miomir Kecmanovic in the fourth round of Australian Open by 6-4, 6-4 and 6-0, in just one hour and 49 minutes. The Murcian will now face the German Alexander Zverev (sixth), who got rid of the British Cameron Norrie (19th) by a very tight 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, 4-6 and 7-6 (3), after marathon four hours and five minutes of action, in the 32nd match that required all sets and that set a record in the tournament.
This edition of the “big” oceanic tournament became the one with the most five-set matches in history, surpassing that of 1998, which the Czech won. Peter Korda (father of Sebastian Korda26th in the world) and in which 31 duels of that length were played.
The ninth day of competition at Melbourne Park also marked another milestone. Because Daniil Medvedevthird seed, this time avoided the fifth set and defeated the surprising Portuguese Nuno Borges by 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), 5-7 and 6-1 to advance to the quarterfinals, which they had also reached on Sunday Novak Djokovic (1°), Jannik Sinner (4°) y Andrey Rublev (5th). And for the first time in the Open Era, which began in 1968, the top six seeds in men’s singles reached that stage in the first Grand Slam on the calendar.
Alcaraz’s overwhelming victory is a declaration of war against Djokovicwho had just marched into the round of 16 with a landslide victory over the Frenchman Adrian Mannarino, who was only allowed to win three games in a duel without equivalences. The Serbian is the main candidate to win the first Grand Slam of the season thanks to resounding victories that magnify his legendary status.
“It is special to reach the quarterfinals here. This is an incredible tournament. It is great to be able to play at this level in the matches. I am playing with a lot of confidence and against Sascha I hope to play even better than I have done with Miomir. I will have my opportunities if I continue playing like this. Because Zverev has also played long five-set matches. It’s going to be difficult for him physically.“said Alcaraz after his victory at the Rod Laver Arena.
“Surely it will be an advantage for him to have spent fewer hours on the court than me. If you play less, you are fresher”Zverev commented. “I feel good, not like I did at the US Open, where I was completely dead and felt physically exhausted. I can’t deny that I arrive tired from having played two five-set matches, but I’m not exhausted. Furthermore, the motivation that gave me facing the world number 2 in a night session at the Rod Laver Arena will give me that extra energy that is needed.
The last match between Alcaraz and Zverev in large tournaments, corresponding to the quarterfinals of the US Open, was in favor of the Spaniard, but the German dominates the record with a balance of four wins and three losses. And he won the last duel they played, at the end of last year, in the round robin of the ATP Finals in Turin.
“I love facing him. They are always great battles and he pushes me to play 100 percent all the time. I’m feeling better and better every day. But I’m going to have to play at a better level than the last time we crossed paths, when “he beat me. I hope to take revenge for that last defeat,” Carlitos assured.
The 20-year-old from Murcia became the seventh Spaniard in the Open Era to reach the quarterfinals in a ‘Grand Slam’ seven times. He joined his compatriots Rafael Nadal, Manuel Orantes, David Ferrer, Tommy Robredo, Juan Carlos Ferrero and Carlos Moyá.
The other protagonist of the day was Medvedev (3rd), who fired the Portuguese Borges, one of the surprises of the contest, and kept alive his ambitious dream of reaching number 1 in the world ranking. Of course, the Muscovite does not have it easy, since he must not only keep the title, but he must light candles so that Djokovic and Alcaraz, both with fabulous gait, stumble before the semifinals.
“The third set was very hard on a physical level. He started hitting any shot of mine that wasn’t so deep with all his might. After the third, my only one since was that there wasn’t a fifth,” he commented after wasting a 5-2 lead during a third chapter that ended up falling to the Portuguese’s side.
The Muscovite held up well physically despite the demands of his last match against the Finnish Emil Ruusuvuori, which lasted until 3:40 in the Australian morning, and got his ticket to the quarterfinals for the third time in a Slam in which he has fallen on two occasions at the gates of the title.
Medvedev lost the 2020 and 2022 finals against Djokovic and Nadal, who withdrew from the tournament due to an untimely tear suffered at the ATP in Brisbane, where he had completed his return to the professional circuit after a long inactivity of 347 days.
The Russian finished the match with 13 aces and 11 double faults, as well as 34 unforced errors that contrasted with the Portuguese’s 66. Borges, however, signed the best Grand Slam of his career at the age of 26, after leaving tennis players of the Spanish caliber on his way to the round of 16. Alexander Davidovich (23°) and the Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov (13°).
Medvedev’s next rival will be Hubert Hurkacz (9th), who put an end to the adventure of the revelation of the competition, the French guest Arthur Cazauxwho finished the match with 18 aces.
The Pole, who reached the quarterfinals in the M for the first time in his careerinstructor oceanic, beat the Frenchman by a tight 7-6 (7-6), 7-6 (7-3) and 6-4, in a clash held at the John Cain Arena and that lasted two hours and 28 minutes.
Hurkacz and Medvedev have a 3-2 head-to-head in favor of the Pole and a new round will take place this Wednesday at Melbourne Park. And the Russian knows that it will not be easy to defeat the world number nine, champion in Miami 2021 and Shanghai 2023.
“With a serve like that you are always a candidate. He is capable of playing well on any surface. He has Wimbledon semis, which is a great achievement, but also early eliminations that surprised me. Although he has already won two Masters 1000 and, in my opinion, “When you win a tournament of this type you are already a candidate for a Grand Slam.”Medvedev analyzed.
Alcaraz, Zverev, Medvedev and Hurkacz will complete the quarterfinals in the early hours of Thursday morning in Argentina, which will start after midnight this Tuesday with the duel between Djokovic and the American Taylor Fritz (not before 00:30) and will continue with the crossing between Sinner and Rublev (from approximately 7:00 on Wednesday).
More surprises in the women’s team
The last duels of the round of 16 of the women’s draw extended the escape of seeds in the Australian Open. Four of the three seeds that were looking to advance to the quarterfinals said goodbye to the competition, including Victoria Azarenka18th and two-time tournament champion (2012 and 2013).
The Belarusian fell 7-6 (8-6) and 6-4 against the Ukrainian Dayana Yastremska93rd in the ranking, who had entered the contest by surpassing the classification and entered for the first time among the best eight of a Major.
“I think I played quite aggressively. At some points I was very nervous and my emotions were running high, but I told myself that it would be what I had to be, and I relaxed,” commented the player who became the first tennis player to emerge. of the previous one that reached the quarterfinals in a “grande” from the British Emma Raducanu in 2021 in the US Opena tournament that he ended up winning.
Yastremska will now clash with the young Czech Linda Noskovawhich had just dropped to number one, Every Swiatek, and once again fired a seeded player. He went to Ukraine Elina Svitolina19th, who retired after just three games due to a back injury when trailing 0-3.
“I have like a spasm, although I don’t know exactly what it is, but like a stabbing pain from the first game and especially in the last two points. I couldn’t do anything, I completely blocked my back. I had never felt pain before. as sharp as this. The feeling is as if someone had shot me in the back,” Svitolina commented.
The Russian Anna Kalinskaya was responsible for the elimination of the third seed, the Italian Jasmine Paolini, 26th. The Moscow-born, 75th in the WTA ranking, won 6-4 and 6-2 in one hour and 17 minutes and also advanced to the quarterfinals in a Grand Slam for the first time in her career.
Its rival in that instance will be the Chinese Qinwen Zheng15th, who defeated the Frenchwoman 6-0 and 6-3 Oceane Dodin.
The women’s quarterfinals will start with the clashes between Coco Gaufffourth favorite, and Marta Kostyuk; y Aryna Sabalenkasecond, and Barbora Krejcikovanovena.
The post first appeared on www.clarin.com