Alcaraz win completes all-star US Open semi-final cast


World No.1 Carlos Alcaraz vanquished Alexander Zverev 6-3 6-2 6-4 to complete an all-star US Open men's semi-final line-up 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 American Ben Shelton booked their spots on Tuesday.

A clash between the last two US 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.

On another steamy day with temperatures in the mid-90s Fahrenheit (32 Celsius), Medvedev was better able to deal with the stifling humidity and heat inside Arthur Ashe Stadium than eighth-seed Rublev to make the Flushing Meadows semi-finals 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 US 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.

"Even though I lost the first set, I thought it was going to be a competitive match. I thought my level was there. I thought his level was there. I thought it was going to be a fun one," said Zverev.

But the 12th-seeded Zverev, a 26-year-old German who was the runner-up at the 2020 US Open, said he felt something bothersome in his left hamstring area early in the second set.

And because of that, he explained, sprinting and pushing off properly to serve became problematic.

"I didn't give up," said Zverev, who left the court for a medical timeout before the third set, "but there is very little you can do, in a way, against Carlos then."

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."

The win pushed the top-seeded Alcaraz 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.

"I try to make the people enjoy watching tennis, watching the matches," Alcaraz said during his on-court interview.

"I've been trying to do different shots that probably the crowd are not used to seeing in the matches. ... That's what I'm trying - to put a show on," said Alcaraz, who is 58-6 with six titles in 2023, both tour highs.

with AP