Carlos Alcaraz continues to gain momentum in his title defence at the US Open after defeating Alexander Zverev in straight sets in the quarter-finals.
The top seed rallied to a 6-3, 6-2, 6-4, win over the world No.12 at the Arthur Ashe Stadium, producing a total of 29 winners and saving all five break points he faced in the match. Alcaraz is now 17-1 in Grand Slam matches so far this season which works out as a winning percentage of 94.4%. According to OptaAce, this is the highest win rate achieved by a male player under the age of 21 at majors within the same year in the Open Era.
“Watching the level Sascha (Zverev) was playing in the first set and being able to win was great for me,” Alcaraz said during his press conference.
“It gave me more confidence and probably he got down a little bit in the second set. Coming into the third set, knowing that I’m up, playing a great level, for him, it was really, really tough.”
Alcaraz acknowledged that his latest opponent was ‘struggling a bit physically.’ Zverev, who was runner-up back in 2020, confirmed afterward that he was troubled by a hamstring problem but didn’t want to take a medical timeout. The issue is a new setback for the German who said he didn’t have any pain in the area during his five-set clash with Jannik Sinner earlier in the week.
“In the second set, I felt something in my hamstring glute, left side. I couldn’t push off on my serve anymore.” He said. “My serve speed was down quite a lot compared to the other days. Against him (Alcaraz) I needed a good serving day otherwise it would have been difficult.”
Bidding to become the first man since Roger Federer to win consecutive US Open titles, Alcaraz has only dropped one set so far in the tournament which was against Dan Evans in the third round. He has now reached the semi-finals or better at four consecutive Grand Slam events.
It has been a rapid rise for the 20-year-old Spaniard over the past couple of years. He has already won 12 Tour titles with six of those triumphs occuring in 2023. Last season he became the youngest year-end No.1 in ATP rankings history.
“I think I’m more mature now. I grew up a lot since last year. Last year I was facing my first semifinal of a Grand Slam. Now I’m facing my fourth one.” He commented on his development in the sport.
“I feel like I’m a totally different player. I’m more mature. I feel like I’m a different person and a different player.”
Alcaraz is closing in on a mouthwatering showdown with Novak Djokovic in the final but both men need to come through their semi-final encounters to ensure this meeting happens. Awaiting the current champion in the last four will be Daniil Medvedev who beat Andrey Rublev in his quarter-final match. He leads the Russian 2-1 in their head-to-head with both of his victories occurring this year.
“The last matches that I played against Daniil I played a tactical game played perfectly,” Alcaraz said before adding, “I did pretty well all the things that I had to do against him, so I think my game suits pretty well against that type of opponent.”
All top three seeds (Alcaraz, Djokovic and Medvedev) have progressed to the last four of the US Open. The last time this happened was back in 2011.
Team World One Win Away From Victory in Laver Cup
Team World take a huge 10-2 lead over Team Europe heading into the final day
After losing the first four editions of the Laver Cup, Team World look set to win the event for a second time as the event reaches its conclusion tomorrow.
Team World Captain John McEnroe was thrilled with the day’s results but warned against complacency: “We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing. The job’s not done but we’re pretty close.”
American duo Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe both earned straight sets wins over Andrey Rublev and Hubert Hurkacz, while Felix Auger-Aliassime and Ben Shelton beat Hurkacz and Gael Monfils.
“I want to play well for the guys,” said Tiafoe after his singles victory. “I played really well tonight. Just being in a team environment is so foreign to us as tennis players, it’s such an individual sport.”
After winning his third singles match in three appearances at the Laver Cup, Fritz was also motivated to do well:
“Yesterday, all the guys played really well. I felt that and wanted to come out on court and show what I can do. That definitely motivated me. Any type of team environment, I feel like it always elevates my game. I feel like my record in team events is really strong because I have a team cheering for me. I get pumped up. I’m excited to play for them. It just adds more pressure and fire to it. I think I play better in those situations.”
The doubles was a typically dynamic and feisty affair, and after the match Shelton was full of praise for his partner:
“It’s amazing, when you play with a guy who serves and returns like Felix, is as athletic as him, and goes back for the overhead as strong as him, it’s a fun time,” said Shelton. “We call him ‘Laver Cup Felix’ because he turns into something special this week, just glad I got to share the court with him at least once.”
Auger-Aliassime returned the compliments: “The best comes out of me when I’m playing not only for myself but for team-mates. Ben carried me through the end of that match, it was tough for me to get it done.”
Casper Ruud, meanwhile, beat Tommy Paul for Europe’s only points so far.
Matches on the final day are worth three points each – meaning that Team Europe would have to win all four remaining matches to prevent Team World from winning the trophy.
T. Fritz def A. Rublev 6-2, 7-6
F. Tiafoe def H. Hurkacz 7-5, 6-3
F. Auger-Aliassime & B. Shelton def H.Hurkacz & G. Monfils 7-5, 6-4
C. Ruud def T. Paul 7-6, 6-2
ATP RANKINGS UPDATE: Novak Djokovic, No.1 once more
After the US Open the Serbian champion reclaims top spot. Alexander Zverev is back in the Top 10
By Roberto Ferri
“Don’t ever underestimate the heart of a champion”
Rudy Tomjanovich coined this maxim just after his Houston Rockets won the NBA championship in 1995. He was paying homage to Akeem Holajuwon. It perfectly suits the heart of Daniil Medvedev, who proved 99% of tennis fans in the world to be wrong, convinced as they were that he would lose the semifinal to former No 1 Carlos Alcaraz.
But his dream to win a second US Open, after his triumph in 2021, was shattered by another champion, whose heart and class is even greater: that’s Novak Djokovic, who affixes his seal on his return to No.1, equalling Margaret Court Smith’s record of 24 majors.
Djokovic dethroning Alcaraz is not the only change in the top 20: Sascha Zverev is back in the top 10 after almost one year and Ben Shelton, great protagonist of the Us Open, debuts in the top 20 best players in the world.
A few comments:
Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrei Rublev and Alexander Zverev gain 2 positions.
Ben Shelton devours 28 positions.
Sinner, Tiafoe, Norrie and Dimitrov lose one.
Casper Ruud and Karen Khachanov, runner up and semi-finalist respectively at the 2022 US Open, drop 4 positions.
One step forward for Fritz, de Minaur, Paul, Auger-Aliassime and Hurkacz.
ATP NITTO FINALS
From 12 to 19 November the 8 best players of the ranking based on the points earned in the ongoing solar season will be playing the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin.
Will Novak Djokovic succeed in winning a second straight title? He appears to be heading in the right direction.
Thanks to his triumph at the US Open the Serbian overtakes Alcaraz also in the Race to Turin.
Jannik Sinner holds fourth spot while Andrei Rublev overtakes Stefanos Tsitsipas and is now fifth.
The eighth position is occupied by Alexander Zverev.
Last year runner up, Casper Ruud is currently 10th. This means he would feature in Turin as a reserve.
ATP NEXT GENERATION FINALS
The Next Gen Finals, dedicated to the best under 21s, (8 effectives and 2 reserves) of the season will take place this year in Gedda, Saudi Arabia.
The 2022 winner, Brandon Nakashima, will not be defending his title, since he was born in 2001.
Taking for granted that Alcaraz and, most likely Rune, will be playing the ATP Finals, we have included in the chart the 12 current top under 21s.
Besides Ben Shelton, other 11 players have achieved their career highest this week.
We tribute a double applause to the four players who are making their debut in the top 100.
The 25-year-old Croatian Borna Gojo, 22-year-old Australian Rinky Hijkata and the Swiss next gen Dominic Stricker all reap the reward for their brilliant runs at the US Open. Seyboth Wild, the Brazilian who stunned Medvedev in the first round of Roland Garros leaps to No.76 after winning the Challenger in Como last week.
Translated by Kingsley Elliot Kaye
COMMENT: Novak Djokovic Proves His Greatness At US Open
Love him, or hate him. But respect him.
No tennis player has ever been better than Novak Djokovic.
Even Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer have to take their hats off to Novak, and admire him.
Now that Rafa and Roger have left Djokovic on his own stage at least for now, tennis fans love Novak.
DJOKOVIC WENT ONE STEP FURTHER
Djokovic’s performance on Sunday evening in the U.S. Open final was simply amazing. Daniil Medvedev also played his heart out, but Djokovic went one step further. He was sensational.
It was a thrill-a-minute three-set match. It lasted well into the night after starting at mid-afternoon. The second set alone lasted 104 minutes.
Djokovic was the winner, 6-3, 7-6 (5), 6-3, but New York still loves 2021 champion Medvedev.
A FOURTH AND 24TH TITLE, AND A 24 TRIBUTE
At 36, the oldest U.S. Open men’s champion ever, Djokovic obviously has a special place in his heart for the number four. It’s the number of times he has won this tournament and the 24th time he has won a Grand Slam title.
The number 24 also was displayed prominently on the white jacket. Novak, his team members and family wore for the victory celebration as a tribute to the No. 24 jersey of deceased friend Kobe Bryant.
Djokovic lost his footing at least three times in the tight second set, stumbling to the surface once, apparently due to the length of the rallies.
Djokovic could look like he was almost completely wiped out of it physically one minute, and then play like Superman the next minute.
THREE POINTS MAY HAVE BEEN DECISIVE
Both men played great tennis, especially in the thrill-a-second second set in which Medvedev gained one set point in the 12th game before Djokovic recovered to force a tiebreaker.
Medvedev appeared to be in charge after out-playing Novak to win one of his drop shots to take a 5-4 lead in the tiebreaker. The match may have been decided on the next three points, all won by Djokovic on errors by the 6-6 Russian.
The big question now is what happens next January in the Australian Open. Right now, Djokovic probably wants to play . . . and win what has been his favorite tournament as far as success. But things can change quickly for players in their mid-30s. Just ask Roger or Rafa.
James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com.
Maria Sakkari sets up quarter final match against Caroline Garcia in Tokyo
Marcos Giron battled past Stan Wawrinka in Astana
‘The Full Package’ – Maria Sharapova Hails The Rise Of Coco Gauff
Daria Kasatkina Criticises Decision To Not Use Roof At Sweltering Pan Pacific Open
Novak Djokovic Upbeat About The Future Of Men’s Tennis As He Praises Alcaraz
‘Bulls**t’ – Expert Involved In Simona Halep’s Anti-Doping Case Blasts Four-Year Ban
Maria Sakkari ‘Scared’ Of Anti-Doping Testing Measures After Halep Ban
Gutsy Novak Djokovic Prevails In Grueling Battle With Medvedev To Win US Open
Iga Swiatek Dismisses Criticism Over Recent US Open Exit
COMMENT: Novak Djokovic Proves His Greatness At US Open
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Steve Flink, Ubaldo Scanagatta Review The 2023 Wimbledon Men’s Final
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Steve Flink, Ubaldo Scanagatta Review The 2023 Wimbledon Women’s Final
(VIDEO): Novak Djokovic Faces Sinner Test, Women’s Semis Take Centre Stage
(VIDEO): Novak Djokovic Sets Rublev Quarter-Final Clash
(VIDEO EXCLUSIVE) Plenty Of Surprises Could Occur In This Year’s Wimbledon Women’s Draw
Hot Topics3 days ago
Elena Rybakina’s Coach Blasts The WTA After Player Withdraws From Tokyo
Hot Topics2 days ago
South Korean No.1 Kwon Faces Disciplinary Action After Asian Games Meltdown
Latest news2 days ago
Daria Kasatkina beats Marta Kostyuk to advance to the second round in Tokyo
Latest news2 days ago
Eight of the top 10 players in the line-up in Beijing
Hot Topics1 day ago
Fit-Again Holger Rune Targets ATP Finals Qualification
Latest news2 days ago
Alexander Zverev beats Roman Safiulin to to claim his second title of the year in Chengdu
Hot Topics1 day ago
Carlos Alcaraz Set For China Debut With Eyes Set On Reclaiming No.1 Spot From Djokovic
Latest news1 day ago
Iga Swiatek survives Mai Hontama to reach the quarter final in Tokyo