No escape for Alcaraz as Zverev roars into Australian Open semis

No escape for Alcaraz as Zverev roars into Australian Open semis

MELBOURNE — Alexander Zverev served up a huge shock at the Australian Open on Wednesday by stunning second seed Carlos Alcaraz to make the semifinals after third seed Daniil Medvedev fought hard to avoid an upset at the hands of Hubert Hurkacz.

Ukrainian qualifier Dayana Yastremska and Chinese 12th seed Zheng Qinwen earlier progressed to the last four of a Grand Slam for the first time after contrasting victories from a wide open section of the women’s draw.

Mr. Zverev was near-flawless on his delivery early in the clash on Rod Laver Arena and the sixth seed took advantage of mistakes from the racket of Mr. Alcaraz to lay the foundation for a 6-1 6-3 6-7(2) 6-4 victory.

Two years on from Rafa Nadal’s “Miracle of Melbourne” when the Spaniard battled from two sets down to beat Medvedev in the final, his 20-year-old compatriot came to life by edging the third set but there would be no escape for Mr. Alcaraz.

Battling fatigue and an issue with his toes, German Mr. Zverev held firm in the face of relentless pressure to secure the win and set up a Friday semifinal showdown with Mr. Medvedev, who has won 11 of their 18 previous meetings.

Third seed Mr. Medvedev, who lost back-to-back Melbourne Park finals in 2021 and 2022, pounced on the few chances offered up by Pole Mr. Hurkacz to get closer to returning to the title clash with a 7-6(4) 2-6 6-3 5-7 6-4 win.

The former US Open champion has sometimes found it hard to get the Melbourne Park crowd on his side but has received great backing this year and will hope to ride that support when he plays Mr. Zverev.

Ms. Yastremska kept things on track with a swift 6-3 6-4 win over giant-killing Czech teenager Linda Noskova to become the first women’s qualifier into the semis since the 1978 event.

The world number 93, who had already taken out Grand Slam champions Marketa Vondrousova and Victoria Azarenka during her stellar run, meets Ms. Zheng who came from behind to beat world number 75 Anna Kalinskaya.

Ms. Zheng overcame a slow start to outclass unseeded Russian Ms. Kalinskaya 6-7(4) 6-3 6-1 and join Yastremska in the semi-finals of a major for the first time and the Chinese player will also crack the top 10 when the rankings are updated on Monday.

The 21-year-old is looking to emulate her idol Li Na and win the Australian Open. — Reuters