Alcaraz was beaten in four sets by Alexander Zverev on Wednesday night in a lopsided match that was dictated by the German's big serving and authoritative baseline aggression. The first set, for instance, was a poor showing from the Spaniard, but he managed to finish the match strongly.
At the start of the fortnight, Alcaraz was one of three players in contention to leave the Australian Open with the World No. 1 ranking. But he needed to go a round better than defending champion Novak Djokovic.
His quarterfinal defeat, coupled with Djokovic's progress to the semis, all but guaranteed the Serb would lock in the top spot for at least another month. But for Alcaraz, he is now in danger of dropping down to third, with Russia's Daniil Medvedev in a prime position to overtake him in the rankings.
Alcaraz and Medvedev stood to gain plenty of points at this year's Australian Open as opposed to Djokovic. That is because Alcaraz didn't play in last year's edition due to injury. At the same time, Medvedev suffered a shock third-round exit last year.
Medvedev's treacherous run to the final has bridged the gap between him and Alcaraz, which now stands at 490 points. The World No. 3 was also in contention for the World No. 1 ranking at this year's tournament but needed both Djokovic and Alceraz to lose before the quarterfinals.
However, Medvedev can still improve on his current ranking. If he wins his second Grand Slam on Sunday by beating Jannik Sinner, he will take his points total to 9,465. Currently, Alcaraz has 9,255 points in the live rankings and can't add to his tally after his exit.
If it happens, it would be the first time since August 2022 that Alcaraz is not ranked in the world's top two. For Medvedev, it would be another significant step in his quest to return to the World No. 1 ranking as the gap between himself and Djokovic would be less than 400 points.