US Open: Cracking the Carlos Alcaraz code | Tennis News – Times of India

NEW YORK: Daniil Medvedev’s head-to-head against Carlos Alcaraz is an equitable one-two, but in their two meetings this year, on hardcourts in Indian Wells and on grass at Wimbledon, the Russian didn’t just fall short, he was outplayed. How do you solve a problem like Carlitos? Medvedev might well be asking ahead of their US Open semifinals.
The defending champion put out Alexander Zverev in a late-night quarterfinal that italicized his mental heft.
Alcaraz, bright-eyed and luminous smile, summed up the semifinal match-up. “I played a tactical game the last matches against Daniil,” he said, adding, “My game suits pretty well against Daniil.”

Medvedev, who studied mathematics in school in Moscow, put a number to what would be needed off him against Alcaraz. The 2021 champion, whose form coming into the final Grand Slam of the year looked implausible, gave his run into the last-four here full marks.
“I’m playing amazing,” Medvedev said. “Starting from the third set against O’Connell (in the second round), guys have been playing brutally good against me. (Each time) I was like, okay, I’m going to have to be better than I am right now. That’s what I’m really proud of. It’s not easy to come back in the matches, to stay there in tough conditions.”
How would that weigh against Alcaraz?

“My game needs to be 11 out of 10 because Carlos is very strong,” Medvedev said. “The last two times I lost pretty easy. I’m someone who fights a lot, so I want to try to be better. I need to be 11 out of 10 to beat him.”
Medvedev troubleshoots on the court, it is what he does best. Against Alcaraz, though, he looked all at sea, that a fight, or a counter, that is the very foundation of the Russian’s game, was lost to him.
Medvedev’s flat ground game and defensive court position played into Alcaraz’s hands, he was meeting the ball just where he wanted to, lighting the lines with his play. Perhaps Medvedev was reckless in going for too much as is the norm against the 20-year-old, maybe he needs to play the wall, like he sometimes does, break the will first.

Alcaraz is the 60,000-piece puzzle Medvedev is still trying to solve.
“What makes him difficult to play is that he has every shot,” Medvedev said. “He has a good forehand, backhand, he can slice, dropshot. He has extra power. I would say for 97 percent of the players, it’s tough for them to hit the ball through me. I’m always there, always running. He can do it just because he has this extra power.”


“But again, tennis, you can always beat players,” Medvedev reminded. “People beat Novak. People even beat Rafa on clay, which is almost impossible. It’s the same about Carlos. I need to serve better than I did the previous matches,” he said. “I need to serve on the line. I need to put my shots on the line. I need to be there 100 per cent of the time and be better.”
In the second semifinal American outsider Ben Shelton will play 23-time major winner Novak Djokovic.

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