Zverev downs boy wonder Alcaraz to reach French Open semi-final

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Third seed Alexander Zverev fought off a Carlos Alcaraz figfhtback on Tuesday to advance to the semi-finals at the French Open.

The 25-year-old German won 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 to avenge his defeat tin the final at the Madrid Masters at the beginning of May.

Zverev maintained his dominance by keeping the points relatively short. He broke early in the first set and and held on to clinch it in 40 minutes.

After claiming the Alcaraz service in the seventh game of the second set, he confirmed his advantage impressively with big serves and a slick forehand volley to take a 5-3 lead.

Serving for the second set was a tad more difficult. A clumsy backhand volley and a forehand into the net gave Alcaraz a sniff of the break.

But parity was swiftly restored. An Alcaraz backhand that landed wide offered Zverev his first set point but that went begging.

And he squandered his second with a double fault. A break point was saved before the third set point came and was converted to end a tense game lasting more than eight minutes.

Courage

The third set turned around some gutsy play from the 19-year-old Spaniard.

Facing a break point at 4-4, Alcaraz produced a cool drop shot to go to deuce.

His second ace in two hours and six minutes took him to game point and a Zverev backhand error moved him 5-4 ahead.

That put the pressure onto Zverev and a couple more drop shots brought Alcaraz two set points and eventually a foothold in the match.

The fourth followed a similar pattern. Only this time Alcaraz cracked first.

Zverev stepped up to serve for the match after two hours and 55 minutes. But Alcaraz would not yield.

Tension

In the fourth set tiebreak, Alcaraz messed up his set point at 6-5 when his backhand drive slumped into the net.

Zverev returned the favour off the same wing on his first match point. An old school serve and volley furnished him with a second chance to reach his second consecutive semi-final at the tournament.

He accomplished his task with a stylish backhand service return winner.

"I knew I had to play my best tennis," Zverev told on-court interviewer Alex Corretja after the three hour and 18 minute battle.

"Carlos kept coming back. I told him at the net that he is going to win this tournament not once but many times. I just hope I can win it before he starts winning all of them."

Zverev will play the winner of the quarter-final between top seed and defending champion Novak Djokovic and the 13-time champion Rafael Nadal.

The clash will be their 59th meeting on the ATP circuit. Djokovic has won 30 of the encounters.

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