Carlos Alcaraz excels to reach star-studded last eight at Australian Open

By Sports Desk January 22, 2024

A blockbuster set of men’s quarter-finals awaits at the Australian Open after Carlos Alcaraz led the favourites into the last eight on Monday.

In complete contrast to the women’s draw, all of the top six seeds have made it through, while Taylor Fritz, at 12, is the lowest-ranked player still left in the tournament.

Alcaraz rated his performance against Miomir Kecmanovic as almost perfect, the second seed hitting 43 winners in a 6-4 6-4 6-0 victory on Rod Laver Arena.

If he can maintain the same level through the next six days, he will fancy his chances of possibly beating another Serbian on the same court on Sunday.

Alcaraz missed last year’s tournament with a leg injury but has dropped only one set so far on his way through to a first quarter-final in Melbourne.

Asked what worked well, the second seed said with a grin: “I think everything. I did everything almost perfectly.

“I pushed him to the limit in every ball, in every point. Obviously he has played a lot of matches in five sets, a lot of tough matches, so probably physically he was not at his 100 per cent.

“I’m feeling better and better every day. Every match I’ve played here in Rod Laver I’ve been feeling more comfortable.”

Alcaraz will next take on sixth seed Alexander Zverev, who survived a deciding fifth-set tie-break for the second time in four rounds to make it past Cameron Norrie.

Third seed Daniil Medvedev and ninth seed Hubert Hurkacz were up against the only real surprise packages of the fourth round in Nuno Borges and Arthur Cazaux, respectively.

Medvedev had a wobble against 69th-ranked Borges, the first Portuguese player to make the fourth round here, in the third set, losing five games in a row from 5-2.

But he regrouped in the fourth to claim a 6-3 7-6 (4) 5-7 6-1 victory and reach the last eight for the third time in the last four years.

Former US Open champion Medvedev has not been talked about as much as Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner as a potential challenger to Novak Djokovic, but the Russian, who lost in the final here in 2021 and 2022 and won in New York last year, is happy to blow his own trumpet.

“I know what I’m worth,” he said. “I know how good I can play. I proved it in the US Open, especially for myself, playing some tough opponents, in my opinion, game style-wise. I managed to beat them.

“I’m ready. Hopefully I can show it on the tennis court. We can talk forever who is ready, who is favourite. You need to win.”

Hurkacz ended the run of French wild card Cazaux, coming from a break down in the opening set to win 7-6 (6) 7-6 (3) 6-4 and reach the last eight at a slam for just the second time, while he is the first Polish man to make the quarter-finals here.

Related items

  • Jarry defeats Paul to set up Zverev showdown in Italian Open final Jarry defeats Paul to set up Zverev showdown in Italian Open final

    Nicolas Jarry defeated Tommy Paul in three sets on Friday to set up a showdown with Alexander Zverev in the Italian Open final.

    The men's world number 24 prevailed 6-3 6-7 (3-7) 6-3 in a little under three hours in Rome to reach his first ATP Masters 1000 final.

    Jarry earned the only break of serve in the eighth game of the opening set, but Paul - who dropped just one set in four matches en route to this stage - hit back in the second.

    Birthday boy Paul lost serve to trail 4-2 at one stage, but he produced one of the shots of the tournament at the ideal moment and soon dragged it back to 4-4.

    A gruelling set concluded with Paul taking the tie-break 7-3, but Jarry was unperturbed and won the deciding set with his fifth match point to see off Paul in a gruelling contest.

    Data Debrief: 

    Jarry is the third male Chilean in the Open Era to reach the singles final of the Italian Open after Marcelo Rios (1997-98) and Fernando Gonzalez (2007).

    The 28-year-old registered 13 aces against Paul to his opponent's seven and hit 35 winners to 19 in a deserved victory.

  • Zverev ends Tabilo's dream run to reach Italian Open final Zverev ends Tabilo's dream run to reach Italian Open final

    Alexander Zverev fought back from the brink to reach the Italian Open final on Friday, overcoming Alejandro Tabilo by a 1-6 7-6 (7-4) 6-2 scoreline in the last four.

    Zverev was punished for a slow start as Tabilo took the opener within 32 minutes, but the German fought back in a one-hour, 15-minute slog of a second set.

    The 2017 Italian Open champion put his foot down from 3-3 in the second-set tie-break, with Tabilo potentially feeling the effects of a fine run that included a last-32 upset of Novak Djokovic.

    Zverev upped the intensity in the final set and won a huge 94 per cent of points behind his first serve as his opponent wilted, the third seed reaching the Rome final for a third time. 

    Data Debrief: Zverev draws level with Becker

    Zverev will now face either Nicolas Jarry or Tommy Paul in Sunday's final, which will be his 11th at ATP 1000 Masters level.

    That tally pulls him level with Boris Becker for most such finals by a German player since the format's 1990 introduction.

  • Sabalenka defeats Collins to set up Swiatek rematch Sabalenka defeats Collins to set up Swiatek rematch

    Aryna Sabalenka defeated Danielle Collins 7-5 6-2 to set up yet another meeting with Iga Swiatek at the Italian Open.

    Having defeated Collins en route to the final of the Madrid Open, which she lost to Swiatek, Sabalenka repeated the trick with a straight sets win over the American in Thursday's semi-final.

    And the Belarusian's reward will be an immediate rematch with Swiatek.

    The duo have met 10 times, including in Madrid earlier this month, with Swiatek winning seven times and Sabalenka claiming three victories.

    This will be Sabalenka's first appearance in the Italian Open final.

    She is the sixth player, along with Simona Halep (2017), Dinara Safina (2009), Serena Williams (2013), Ons Jabeur (2022), and Swiatek (2024) to have reached the final of both Madrid and Rome in the same season.

    Data Debrief: Perfect record

    Collins is the only player against whom Sabalenka has registered six wins without a loss in WTA events, while only against Maria Sakkari and Elise Mertens does she have more wins in her career in such events (seven each).

    The final will mark the fourth meeting on clay between Swiatek and Sabalenka as world number one and two, equalling Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova for the most meetings on the surface as the WTA's top-two ranked players.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.