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Carlos Alcaraz’s French Open run ends in four-set defeat by Alexander Zverev
The swashbuckling form which swept Alcaraz into the quarter-finals deserted him for too long against third seed Zverev.
Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz’s French Open title bid ended in a four-set defeat by Alexander Zverev.
Alcaraz was tipped by many as a potential Roland Garros winner this year, but the swashbuckling form which swept him into the quarter-finals deserted him for too long against third seed Zverev.
German Zverev took the first two sets and won a tense tie-break in the fourth to secure a first win over a top-10 player at a grand slam, and then promptly turned the air blue on live TV.
“S****ing my pants,” was his ill-judged response when interviewed on court.
A total of 32 unforced errors from Alcaraz and only 18 winners across the first two sets told its own story as Zverev eased into the lead.
Alcaraz struck back in the third, a whipped crosscourt forehand bringing up a set point on the Zverev serve which he converted with one of dozens of drop shots.
A double fault gifted Zverev a break for 5-4 in the fourth but Alcaraz hit back immediately.
In the tie-break Zverev brought up the first match point on his own serve, only to net a backhand.
But a stunning backhand winner from an Alcaraz second serve sealed a 6-4 6-4 4-6 7-6 (7) victory and a place in the semi-finals.
“I knew I had to play my best tennis today and I’m happy I did,” added Zverev.
“I told him at the net he will win this a lot of times, I just hope I win it before he starts.”
Alcaraz’s time will surely come, and sooner rather than later.
He said: “I would say I finished the match playing better. I leave the court, leave the tournament with the head very high. I fought until the last ball. I fought until the last second of the match, and I’m proud of it.”
There was disappointment for Britain in the men’s doubles as top seeds Joe Salisbury and American Rajeev Ram lost a match tie-break in their quarter-final against Ivan Dodig and Austin Krajicek.
Neal Skupski and Dutchman Wesley Koolhof were also beaten in three by Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos.