Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz dug deep to beat Russia’s Karen Khachanov in testing circumstances and attain the Madrid Open semi-finals.
Alcaraz, who turns 20 on Friday, gained 6-4 7-5 in opposition to tenth seed Khachanov after trailing 5-2 within the second set.
Within the ladies’s singles, prime seed Iga Swiatek continued her dominance on clay with a 6-0 6-3 win over Petra Martic.
In the meantime, Britain’s Andy Murray earned a much-needed clay-court win over Gael Monfils at an ATP Challenger occasion.
Alcaraz making an attempt to ‘play tennis in a different way’
Alcaraz introduced himself to the broader sporting public on the identical stage of the season final yr, successful titles in Miami, Barcelona and Madrid to point out precisely why these in tennis circles had lengthy predicted he would grow to be a future Grand Slam champion.
These predictions had been fulfilled when he gained the US Open in September and have become the youngest males’s Grand Slam champion since Rafael Nadal gained the French Open in 2005.
This yr, his stage has continued to speed up and, in windy circumstances on the Caja Magica, this was an instance of how he can now carve out victories with out being at his easiest.
In opposition to Khachanov, Alcaraz confronted two break factors to go 5-1 down however recovered to see them off earlier than turning the set round.
If he defends the title on the clay-court Masters 1000 occasion, Alcaraz will regain the world primary rating from Serbia’s Novak Djokovic.
The world quantity two will face Croatia’s Borna Coric within the final 4 after he beat Germany’s Daniel Altmaier 6-3 6-3 on Wednesday evening.
“I had issues within the second set, he had quite a lot of probabilities to interrupt my serve and had his probabilities to win the second set,” Alcaraz informed Amazon Prime.
“I’m very pleased to get via and end the match taking part in such an amazing stage.
“That is my recreation to attempt to make completely different pictures and make tennis completely different. That’s my model.”
What else occurred in Madrid?
Within the ladies’s singles, world primary Swiatek wanted simply 26 minutes to win the opening set in opposition to Martic and broke the twenty seventh seed from Croatia as soon as extra within the second to seal a commanding victory.
The 2-time French Open champion, whose solely defeat in her previous 29 matches on the clay got here final July, will compete within the Madrid semi-finals for the primary time after lacking final yr’s occasion via harm.
The 21-year-old from Poland will play Russia’s Veronika Kudermetova within the final 4.
Kudermetova, seeded twelfth, reached the largest semi-final of her profession with a 6-4 0-6 6-4 win over American third seed Jessica Pegula.
Britain’s Neal Skupski and his Dutch taking part in accomplice Wesley Koolhof – the highest seeds within the males’s doubles – misplaced 6-3 6-2 in opposition to India’s Rohan Bopanna and Australia’s Matt Ebden of their quarter-final.
Murray again to successful methods on the clay
Murray, 35, determined to play within the Aix-en-Provence occasion – a stage under the primary ATP Tour – after shedding within the Monte Carlo and Madrid first rounds in April.
The Briton gained 6-3 6-2 in opposition to fellow veteran Monfils, who has slipped to 322nd within the rankings after harm.
Murray, ranked 52nd on the earth, performs France’s Laurent Lokoli in spherical two.
The three-time Grand Slam champion travelled to Aix-en-Provence for some extra time on the match court docket as he prepares for the French Open, which begins on 28 Might.
Murray has performed little on the clay since having career-threatening hip surgical procedure 4 years in the past, shedding each his matches on the floor this yr earlier than this occasion.
After one-sided losses to Australia’s Alex de Minaur in Monte Carlo and Italian qualifier Andrea Vavassori in Madrid, he earned a morale-boosting win over France’s former world quantity six Monfils.
Murray stays centered on a return to Roland Garros for less than his second look on the Grand Slam match since he reached the semi-finals in 2017.