Carlos Alcaraz dodges early challenge en route to US Open semis - ESPN

2023-09-07 04:06:42  • 3 mins

NEW YORK -- Carlos Alcaraz found himself in a hint of a predicament 35 minutes into his US Open quarterfinal against Alexander Zverev on Wednesday night.

At 3-all in the first set under the lights in Arthur Ashe Stadium, Zverev earned the first break points of the match. An opening. An opportunity to gain an early edge against the defending champion. And then -- poof! -- gone. Alcaraz dismissed those chances to hold, then gained a break himself in the next game by depositing an overhead that bounced into the stands. One more service hold arrived and, just like that, the set belonged to Alcaraz, as did, eventually, a spot in the semifinals.

The top-seeded Alcaraz pushed aside Zverev 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 and moved a step closer to becoming the first man to win consecutive titles at Flushing Meadows since Roger Federer collected five in a row from 2004-08.

Perhaps the 12th-seeded Zverev, a 26-year-old German who was the runner-up at the 2020 US Open, was feeling the after-effects of his 4-hour, 41-minute win over Jannik Sinner in the fourth round two days earlier. Perhaps otherwise, Zverev could have offered more of a challenge to Alcaraz, a 20-year-old from Spain.

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