Above, there was the incessant lapping of the rain, beating the roof of the center court. Through the net was the “UH-HOH!” by Carlos Alcaraz, soundtrack of his own plans. All this time, Daniil Medvedev remained silent.
He fell silent when Alcaraz held his service at love in the very first game. He was quiet when Alcaraz dropped his leash, defeating the Russian three times in one match with that signature weapon. He was silent as the Spaniard broke and then held serve to win the opening set, and he remained silent as the crowd laughed in disbelief at the staggering feats in front of them.
Medvedev didn’t want to get caught up in the noise around him, and he certainly didn’t want to get caught up in the noise of your story, that Alcaraz was still destined for a final showdown with Novak Djokovic. For two weeks, the world No. 3 quietly got down to business, with talk surrounding his quarter-finals focusing entirely on Christopher Eubanks, the American underdog whom Medvedev saw off in five sets.
Medvedev’s mind, however, must have gotten incredibly loud on Friday. Because, even if you try to quell the intensity, Alcaraz is intensity personified – as relentless as the rain above. While you may try to play at your own pace, this Tasmanian devil of a tennis player will take you on and train you at his pace – one few can match, and one Medvedev certainly couldn’t tonight.
At times, the 20-year-old can overstep his own feet and stumble one way. It looked like it could happen when he double faulted early in the second set, to give Medvedev a break point and a chance to lead 2-0, only for Alcaraz to deny the 27-year-old the chance. hitting an ace. . For his opponents, Alcaraz must bring chaos, yet he so often seems in control.
Medvedev, like Alcaraz, held the No. 1 ranking and is a US Open champion, although the latter of course achieved both of these accolades at a younger age and without the setbacks Medvedev had to overcome first. On Friday night, however, as each player entered their first semi-final of this legendary tournament, there were few similarities between them.
Alcaraz this week echoed Andrey Rublev’s suggestion that Medvedev is an ‘octopus’ on the ground, but the mollusk choked on the SW19 air filtered here as it was reduced to a shell of him -even.
Sometimes those tentacles would go wild – a menacing winner down the line here, a twisting passing shot there – but too often Alcaraz had those limbs contested. In a miraculous moment at 1-1 in the second set, the Spaniard somehow held on as Medvedev knocked ball after ball into him, eventually beating the Russian with a volley to earn a break point.
He would soon convert and take a 3-1 lead, and as the rain finally stopped, there was finally a whisper from Medvedev to break the silence, as he tried to extricate himself from this perilous pattern.
It was a useful reminder that Medvedev was actually here, but it didn’t do much. Soon, the world number 3 smash wide, after a valiant defense from Alcaraz but with all the ground to aim for. When Alcaraz fired a forehand into the corner and followed it dancing in an almost smirking sliced winner, earning three set points on Medvedev’s serve, again the crowd was torn between applause and cheers. laughs.
The rain had stopped, but not Alcaraz. And then the rain came back.
Eventually, the noise turned into support for Medvedev, who had been a silent observer in that semi-final, after he double-faulted to give Alcaraz break points early in the third set. Alcaraz converted, but then it was Medvedev’s turn to earn a trio of break points and stay in the game.
Three more breaks ensued, with more stunning Alcaraz moments littered among those plays, including a volley attempt between his legs. Cue more laughs. Even his slices were flush with the tenderloin, drawing sighs of disbelief from the crowd.
Either way, that brief spell of something resembling parity soon came to an end, as Alcaraz secured a 6-3 6-3 6-3 victory. Perhaps his most wonderful moment was recorded for the final point, as he deflected a forehand around a rushing Medvedev and found the corner of the field. Ha…
In doing so, Alcaraz set up the final choice of the fans, facing the other man who again and again amazed the public this fortnight: Novak Djokovic, the king of the center court.
“It will be really difficult, but I will fight. I will fight,” insisted the Spaniard in front of a delighted crowd. “Now is not the time to be afraid, this is not the time to be tired.”
As Alcaraz prepares for this confrontation, Medvedev can seek a quiet space to reflect on this outcome – this procession. Yet even there he can hear the noise. The rain. The “UH-HOH!” The laugh.