“I leave the court, leave the tournament with the pinnacle very high,” he said. “I fight until the last ball. I fought until the last second of the match, and I’m pleased with it.”
However the best-of-five-set format stays one other kind of challenge than the best-of-three-set variety played on the regular tour. For now, Alcaraz’s best ends in the majors are quarterfinal runs on the U.S. Open last yr and now in Paris.
“I didn’t start well, and on this level, quarterfinal of a Grand Slam, you’re playing against the most effective players on this planet, so you might have to start out the match higher than I did today,” Alcaraz said. “I actually have to take the lesson. I mean, I actually have to enhance to the following Grand Slam or next matches. But I’d say I’m not far-off to succeed in a semifinal or have the opportunity to win a Grand Slam.”
Zverev, a semifinalist at Roland Garros last yr, clearly felt the percentages were against him on Tuesday in light of Alcaraz’s recent results. Alcaraz had won the Barcelona and Madrid titles back-to-back on red clay and resumed rolling at Roland Garros after saving a match point against his Spanish compatriot Albert Ramos-Viñolas within the second round.
“I knew I needed to play my absolutely best tennis today from the beginning, and I’m blissful I did that,” Zverev said. “Obviously he kept on coming back. He’s an incredible player. I told him at the online, he’s going to win this tournament plenty of times, not just once, and I just hope I can win it before he starts beating us all, and we’ll don’t have any likelihood in any respect.”
Zverev, despite his high-quality performance (and evident relief) on Tuesday, continues to be a good distance from winning his first Grand Slam singles title. Within the semifinals, he’ll face the winner of Tuesday’s second match: an evening session between Djokovic and the fifth-seeded Rafael Nadal, who has won the French Open a record 13 times.
“It’s not likely getting easier from here,” said Zverev, still looking delighted. “But I said plenty of times, I’m not 20 or 21 years old anymore; I’m 25. I’m on the stage where I would like to win, I’m on the stage where I’m purported to win, as well.”