Outside of the Alexander Zverev camp, the tennis world wanted to see Carlos Alcaraz vs. Jannik Sinner in the U.S. Open quarterfinals.
That’s no knock on Zverev; it’s simply that the Alcaraz-Sinner rivalry is quickly becoming one of the best in tennis. Their 2022 U.S. Open quarterfinal contest was nothing short of legendary.
A rematch is what we almost got, but instead it will be Alcaraz vs. Zverev on Wednesday night in New York. That’s because Zverev outlasted Sinner 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 after four hours and 41 minutes of energy-sapping tennis on Monday night. Sinner started cramping all the way back in the third set and Zverev–despite winning–also clearly felt the effects of brutal heat and humidity throughout the final two sets.
“I guess I can say I’m back,” Zverev said afterward, referencing his return from an ankle injury sustained at Roland Garros in 2022.
Zverev had already been playing great tennis again even prior to beating Sinner. His 42-20 record for this 2023 campaign includes the Hamburg title, semifinal performances at the French Open and Cincinnati Masters, and U.S. Open defeats of Aleksandar Vukic, Daniel Altmaier, Grigor Dimitrov, and Sinner.
Meanwhile, Alcaraz won Wimbledon before understandably having a bit of a letdown in Toronto and Cincinnati (although his level was high in an epic Cincinnati final against Novak Djokovic, won by the Serb in three thrilling sets). The top-ranked Spaniard has begun his U.S. Open title defense with victories over Dominik Koepfer, Lloyd Harris Dan Evans, and Matteo Arnaldi.
Assuming Zverev is 100 percent, Wednesday’s matchup should be competitive. The German is 3-2 in the head-to-head series and won their only previously Grand Slam meeting in four sets last year at Roland Garros. Alcaraz is the favorite for a reason, but getting past Zverev probably won’t be a walk in the park.
Pick: Alcaraz in 4
Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on Twitter at @Dimonator.