The Spaniard had in his hand the safe conduct that took him to the most important final of his career, but Zverev woke up when he had to, smelled the blood and prevented Carreño from playing for the first ‘great’ of his career. The 23-year-old German will do it, who will also make his debut in a date that the new champion will wear.

The absences of Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal, and the elimination of Novak Djokovic by hitting a linesman, left an open box where the less common have tried to get a slice. And Carreño was very close. His start was unbeatable, he danced on the floor, he was patient and he subdued Zverev in the first two heats.

The one from Gijón played with concentration from the start, very reliable with his serve, he soon broke that of the German. By the fourth game the balance had become unbalanced and he put the initial act on his face. Carreño did not forgive and closed the first set with a comfortable 6-3, the result of his game from the back of the court and his practical setback.

It did not seem to intimidate Zverev, but it did make him desperate on more than one occasion. Carreño went to more and remained ‘very involved’ in the second round. He broke at the first and confirmed the break in the later game. The 2-0 gave way to the German’s serve, which ended up delivering the 3-0 with the fifth double fault of the night. The game fulfilled the script dreamed of by the pupil trained by Samuel López.

Carreño continued to enjoy to stamp the second set on the scoreboard with a brilliant game and without any more shocks than Zverev’s final blows to make up the figures. The 6-2 final left the ticket for Sunday’s final very close, but it was then that the Hamburg tennis player was reborn from his ashes.

Zverev found oil in two of Carreño’s serves that made him 4-2 and the game changed completely. The dream of emulating Orantes, Santana, Ferrero and Nadal himself, current US Open champion, began to recede in an astonishing way. The German raised his level and cut distances in a reaction that would alter the final result.

The spiky blond reapplied the same recipe on the fourth stake. Good ‘rights’ and greater confidence with your service. Carreño ran out of the backhand and began to show doubts at every point. A counterbreak encouraged the Asturian, but the 6-4 took the game to the fifth and final set. Statistics said that the Hamburg had never come back when he started losing two down.

And this Friday he did it, surely with his best tennis of the entire match despite accumulated fatigue. The same one that made the physio enter the track to attend Carreño before the final battle. At the same time as in the quarterfinals, but this time the result was different. Zverev pushed the accelerator to the ground and shattered the dream of a brave Carreño. Zverev’s opponent in the final will come from the winner Daniil Medvedev-Dominic Thiem.