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US Open: Carlos Alcaraz edges closer to Novak Djokovic final with win over Alexander Zverev

US Open: Carlos Alcaraz edges closer to Novak Djokovic final with win over Alexander Zverev

Carlos Alcaraz declared his love to the New York crowd in the wake of a straightforward straight-sets victory over Alexander Zverev overnight.

It is a love that has long been requited, an often demanding crowd in rapture to the Spaniard from the moment he made his debut in the Big Apple as a teenager.

There was barely a vacant seat in the 23,000-plus arena, almost everyone in attendance lapping up the arrival on court, the fist-pumps, the smiles and the array of shot-making which belie the fact he is aged just 20.

As is his custom, he played in a way which endears him to anyone watching — bar perhaps the man at the other side of the net. Zverev was graciously lengthy in his congratulations to the better man afterwards.

The New York crowd might be torn should American Ben Shelton beat Novak Djokovic in their semi-final if Alcaraz can similarly find a way past Daniil Medvedev, such is the Spaniard’s popularity in the US.

“I feel so comfortable on this court,” he said. “I love New York. I am in my best level in this court. I am ready to play a great battle against Medvedev.”

Zverev had declared himself back and ready to take on the world’s best after beating Jannik Sinner in five sets on Tuesday. Instead, he was found to be wanting, as Alcaraz eased past him 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.

New York love affair: Carlos Alcaraz says he feels right at home as he aims for a second straight title at Flushing Meadows (Getty Images)
New York love affair: Carlos Alcaraz says he feels right at home as he aims for a second straight title at Flushing Meadows (Getty Images)

Zverev has faced a lengthy battle to get back to his best since a horror injury at last year’s French Open. Three sets against the world No1 suggested he still faces a mountain to climb, at least against Alcaraz.

The frustration for Zverev is that he did not play badly. He secured the first break points of the match in game seven but could not convert either opportunity. Such is Alcaraz’s ability to wrest back control of a match, he manufactured a break point of his own in the next game, took it and served out the first set.

Zverev looked shellshocked, and from that moment he never really looked like keeping his career head-to-head advantage against Alcaraz, which is now down to three apiece.