No. 2 Alcaraz cruises to victory, sets up Australian Open quarterfinal against Zverev

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Carlos Alcaraz completed a Grand Slam set by reaching the Australian Open quarterfinals for the first time, setting up a showdown against Olympic champion Alexander Zverev.

Alcaraz, the 20-year-old Wimbledon champion, missed the season-opening major in 2023 because of injury. But he’s more than making up for lost time.

The No. 2-seeded Alcaraz beat Miomir Kecmanovic 6-4, 6-4, 6-0 in less than two hours Monday to open the night session on Rod Laver Arena. 

Alcaraz has dropped just one set en route to the last eight. Zverev is there 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 Melbourne Park, a tournament record in the Open era.

A pro-Palestinian protester threw papers onto an Australian Open court and briefly disrupted a match between Zverev and Norrie before being stopped by other spectators.

Zverev said he didn’t feel unsafe but questioned why it took several minutes for security to react, leaving it to tennis fans to intervene.

“When something like this happens, it shouldn’t be another fan dragging the other person out,” he said, noting that security at Melbourne Park was usually very tight, including for the players. “It should be the security guys … there quite quickly.”

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.

Medvedev to face Hurkacz

No. 3 Daniil 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.

Medvedev had two match points at 5-4 in the third set but Borges forced a fourth, only to fade as the Russian pulled away for victory.

A women's tennis player pumps her fist in celebration.
Ukraine’s Dayana Yastremska celebrates victory against Belarus’s Victoria Azarenka during their women’s singles match on day nine of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on Monday. (Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images)

Qualifier Dayana Yastremska continued her fairytale run into the quarterfinals with a 7-6(6) 6-4 upset of twice former champion and 18th seed Victoria Azarenka.

The Ukrainian world No. 93, who stunned Wimbledon champion Marketa Vondrousova in the first round, had to fight hard but was rewarded for her aggression with 38 winners to forge on into a half of the draw devoid of top 10 seeds.

“I feel like my heart is going to jump out of my body,” the 23-year-old said after the biggest win of her career.

“I was losing the tiebreak, I was losing the second set, I was always felt like I was running behind the train. But I think I’m a little bit of a fighter so that’s why I won this match.”

In a punishing baseline battle with virtually no net play, Yastremska got the first of the six breaks of serve in the opening set only for Azarenka to rattle off the next four games to edge in front.

Azarenka, back-to-back champion in 2012-2013 and a Melbourne semi-finalist last year, served for the set but Yastremska kept up the pressure through five deuces and finally converted her fourth break point to force a tiebreak.

The tiebreak was just as tight but the Ukrainian sealed it with her 21st winner, a blistering forehand that was just too fast and too deep for 34-year-old Azarenka.

Both players took lengthy bathroom breaks after the first set and Belarusian Azarenka came out firing, racing to a 3-0 lead almost before Yastremska had time to catch her breath.

The Ukrainian stalled Azarenka’s progress and then went back on the attack, finding her rasping winners again to win five straight games.

She held her nerve serving for the match two games later, lashing across one more big backhand to set up a meeting with Czech world number 50 Linda Noskova in her first Grand Slam quarterfinal.

Noskova advances to quarters after Svitolina retires

Czech teenager Linda Noskova advanced to her first Grand Slam quarterfinal after Elina Svitolina retired due to a back injury early in the first set.

The Ukrainian player, who was in tears, had a medical timeout at 2-0 down and was trailing 3-0 when she decided to quit.

A women's tennis player hugs her opponent.
Ukraine’s Elina Svitolina, front, hugs Czech Republic’s Linda Noskova after retiring injured during their women’s singles match on day nine of the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne on Monday. (William West/AFP via Getty Images)

“Obviously today was not the way I had planned to win,” said the 19-year-old Noskova, who beat top-ranked Iga Swiatek in the third round. “I feel sort for Elina, I hope she gets very well soon.”

The first game of the match lasted 11 minutes and contained 20 points. Noskova broke serve and held for 2-0 before Svitolina had a timeout.

When she returned, the Ukrainian player had had her serve broken for a second time. She shook Noskova’s hand and retired.

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

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.



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