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The Hindu
The Hindu

U.S. Open 2023 | Alcaraz downs Zverev to complete all-star semifinal lineup

World number one Carlos Alcaraz vanquished Alexander Zverev 6-3 6-2 6-4 on Wednesday to complete an all-star U.S. Open men's semi-final lineup that features three Flushing Meadows champions and a big-hitting American wildcard.

Daniil Medvedev, the 2021 winner, overcame brutal heat and fellow Russian Andrey Rublev 6-4 6-3 6-4 to set up a Friday meeting with defending champion Alcaraz.

Three-time champion Novak Djokovic and 20-year-old Ben Shelton booked their spots on Tuesday.

A clash between the last two U.S. Open winners Alcaraz and Medvedev is an obvious attraction but Djokovic and Shelton is perhaps the more intriguing — the 23-times Grand Slam winner going up against the fearless Shelton, who has said his approach will be to close his eyes and swing away.

While Shelton is the last American chance in the men's draw there is growing excitement over the possibility of an all-American women's final after Madison Keys beat Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova 6-1 6-4 to join compatriot Coco Gauff in the last four.

Keys played in the last all-American final at Flushing Meadows in 2017, losing to Sloane Stephens, and the only remaining obstacle between her and a return to Saturday's championship match is second seed Aryan Sabalenka, who crushed China's Zheng Qinwen 6-1 6-4.

Medvedev breezes through on a hot day

On another steamy hot day with temperatures in the mid-90s Fahrenheit (32 Celsius) Medvedev was better able deal with the stifling humidity and heat inside Arthur Ashe Stadium than eighth seed Rublev to make the Flushing Meadows semifinals for the fourth time in five years.

Despite getting the victory, Medvedev was not happy about playing in such difficult conditions, complaining into the camera in the third set: "You cannot imagine, one player is going to die and then they're going to see."

By the time Alcaraz and Zverev appeared on Arthur Ashe for the late match much of the sting had been taken out of the brutal conditions that Medvedev and Rublev faced.

Still, there were concerns about how prepared Zverev would be to challenge the energetic Alcaraz after playing the longest match of the tournament — a nearly five hour, five-set marathon in punishing conditions on Monday against Jannik Sinner.

German Zverev, a U.S. Open finalist in 2020, showed up ready to fight but after some initial resistance the tank emptied and it was a straightforward win for Alcaraz in the end.

The Spaniard had only four break point chances through the entire contest but made each one of them count in a brilliant display.

"I'm feeling really comfortable playing in this court, playing here in New York," said Alcaraz. "I'm showing my best level in New York.

"Here I am feeling good physically, feeling strong enough mentally so I think I am ready to play a great battle against Medvedev."

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