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Alcaraz sets up Australian Open quarterfinal against Zverev

All four women who won Monday reached the last eight at Melbourne Park for the first time

Carlos Alcaraz
Carlos Alcaraz of Spain celebrates winning his 4th round match against Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia at the 2024 Australian Open in Melbourne, Australia, 22 January 2024.JOEL CARRETT (EFE)

Wimbledon champion Carlos Alcaraz will meet Olympic gold medalist Alexander Zverev in the Australian Open quarterfinals and Daniil Medvedev is also back in a last eight that is stacked with the top six seeds.

While the men’s competition is playing fairly true to the rankings, the women’s really is a tale of two halves.

No. 12-seeded Zheng Qinwen, a quarterfinalist at last year’s U.S. Open, is the highest-ranked player left in the top half of the bracket, where all four women who won Monday reached the last eight at Melbourne Park for the first time.

“The people who arrive to quarterfinals, for sure they’re all feeling really well in this tournament,” Zheng said after her 6-0, 6-3 win over No. 95 Oceane Dodin. “It’s one player against another player, and we will compete.”

She’ll next play No. 75-ranked Anna Kalinskaya. No. 50 Linda Noskova, who beat top-ranked Iga Swiatek in the third round, will meet No. 93 Dayana Yastremska.

There’s still three Grand Slam winners in the other half of the bracket. No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka, the defending champion, will take on 2021 French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova and U.S. Open winner Coco Gauff will play Marta Kostyuk in quarterfinals on Tuesday.

The first of the men’s quarterfinals — 10-time Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic vs. No. 12 Taylor Fritz and No. 4 Jannik Sinner vs. No. 5 Andrey Rublev — were set on Sunday, well before Alcaraz completed a Grand Slam set by reaching the last eight in Australia for the first time.

The 20-year-old Alcaraz missed the 2023 Australian Open because of injury, but is making up for lost time.

He beat Miomir Kecmanovic 6-4, 6-4, 6-0 in less than two hours to open Monday’s night session on Rod Laver Arena.

“Every match I’m playing, I’m feeling better and better on a court I didn’t play so much,” Alcaraz, the only man to beat Djokovic in a major last year, said of his buildup here. “Hopefully the same as Wimbledon. Yeah, could be the same.”

He has dropped just one set. Zverev is into the quarterfinals here for the third time but is coming off some long five-set wins, including a four-hour, 7-5, 3-6, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (3) fourth-round victory over No. 19 Cameron Norrie.

It was the 32nd five-set match so far at the tournament, an Open era record in Australia.

Their match on Margaret Court Arena was prolonged after being delayed briefly when a protester threw anti-war pamphlets onto the back of the court in the third set. The protester was escorted out by security.

No. 3 Medvedev, a two-time Australian Open runner-up, beat No. 69-ranked Nuno Borges 6-3, 7-6 (4), 5-7, 6-1 and will next face No. 9 Hubert Hurkacz, who ended the run of French wild-card entry Arthur Cazaux 7-6 (6), 7-6 (3), 6-4.

Some unexpected charges continue in the women’s field, with opportunities opening up for the likes of Noskova, Yastremska and Kalinskaya to advance to the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam for the first time.

Kalinskaya beat No. 26 Jasmine Paolini 6-4, 6-2 to end a streak of 13 majors that didn’t go beyond the second round.

Yastremska beat the 18th-seeded Victoria Azarenka, a two-time Australian Open champion, 7-6 (6), 6-4, and No. 23-seeded Elina Svitolina had to retire after hurting her back when she was trailing Noskova 3-0.

“I got a spasm, like a shooting pain,” she said. “Couldn’t do anything, completely locked my back, just very sad. I had some injuries to my back before where it just was tiredness ... but this one was really out of nowhere. I felt like someone shot me in the back.”

The 19-year-old Noskova now is the youngest player to reach the Australian Open women’s quarterfinals since 2008.

Yastremska saved set points in the first against Azarenka and was down a break in the second but rallied to win six of the last seven games.

“I think I need to take a thousand breaths because my heart I think is going to jump out of my body,” Yastremska said. “During the match, I was imagining how I lost already like 25 times. I was losing the tiebreak, second set I was losing, I always felt I was running behind the train.

“But because I’m a little bit of a fighter I think I won this match.”

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