Defending champion Carlos Alcaraz was stunned by third seed Daniil Medvedev on Friday at the semifinals of the US Open, as the Spaniard crashed to just his second grand slam defeat since his title-winning run at last year’s tournament.
Medvedev produced a “12 out of 10” performance, he told reporters afterwards, to defeat Alcaraz 7-6 (7-3) 6-1 3-6 6-3 and advance to his third career US Open final and his fifth career grand slam final.
Despite an assured start from the world No. 1, Medvedev saved the only two break points of the first set and later won the tiebreak 7-3 with four straight points, two of which were winners.
Alcaraz looked visibly flustered in the second set and Medvedev won 16 out of 18 points on his serve, taking the set easily 6-1.
“I don’t think I’m going to think about this loss for a long time,” Alcaraz told reporters afterwards. “Of course, I have to learn about it. I want to be better. These kinds of matches help you a lot to be better and grow up in these situations.”
After a bathroom break, Alcaraz, the youngest world No. 1 of all time and still only 20 years old, looked revitalized and quickly took the first game. He waved his arms up at the crowd who responded with a huge ovation and the two-time grand slam winner went on to take the third set 6-3.
Medvedev regrouped in the fourth set and secured a crucial break point after an astonishing seven deuce game to creep closer to a memorable victory. He then sealed the win after fending off three break points in his final service game, and closed out his fourth match point with an overhead smash.
It was “amazing” to advance to the final, Medvedev told the ESPN broadcast afterwards.
“Especially beating someone like Carlos (Alcaraz). I lost two times easy against him this year so before the match for sure a lot of doubt. Could I impose my game to him? What should I do better? Finally, amazing match for my side and I’m really happy to be here on Sunday.”
In his young career, Alcaraz has yet to win from two sets down, although he has nine wins and just one loss in five set matches.
Medvedev will now face Novak Djokovic for the title in a rematch of the 2021 US Open final in which the Russian defeated Djokovic in straight sets.