It wasn’t a can of tomatoes.
It was not a qualifying game or an unranked opponent.
It was Alexander Zverev, the 12th player in the world who has reached the semi-finals in five of the last 10 Grand Slam tournaments he has participated in and who had just surprised the n°6 Jannik Sinner.
It didn’t matter.
Not against Carlos Alcaraz.
Zverev played a solid first set, arguably outplaying Alcaraz.
But the top-ranked Spaniard and rising superstar found a way to break Zverev late in the set, and once he did, it was over for the German.
Alcaraz served beautifully and generally dominated from the baseline to the net, advancing to the semis with a 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 quarter-final win at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Wednesday night.
Alcaraz will meet No. 3 Daniil Medvedev on Friday, as he looks to repeat his Open championship title in Flushing.
Zverev failed to break 20-year-old Alcaraz just once, sniffing out five chances.
He had two break points ahead at 2-1 in the third set, but Alcaraz responded with a drop shot winner and a big serve to knock them out.
Alcaraz, meanwhile, converted all four break chances in a two-hour, 29-minute one-sided game.
Earlier in the tournament, Zverev pushed back against the idea that an Alcaraz-Novak Djokovic final was inevitable.
He mentioned the other strong players on the tour as all capable of stopping this confrontation.
“It’s natural for the media to find rivalries, I think. But I think, as I said last time – Novak said it very well – that there are other players who can play in the draw, there are other players against whom these two guys lost,” Zverev said.
He had his opportunity and he couldn’t even slow down Alcaraz.
Perhaps Medvedev, who beat eighth-seeded Russian Andrey Rublev in straight sets earlier today, might have a better chance.
More likely, it will be played at Alcaraz against Djokovic on Sunday afternoon, just like at Wimbledon in July.