MADRID–Teenager Carlos Alcaraz prevailed 6-2 1-6 6-3 over Rafa Nadal in a Spanish conflict of the generations on the Madrid Open on Friday, claiming his first victory over his idol and establishing a semi-final showdown with world primary Novak Djokovic.
In a topsy-turvy contest on the Manolo Santana Stadium, Alcaraz weathered an ankle damage to supply an announcement efficiency to turn out to be the primary Spanish participant to beat Nadal since Fernando Verdasco on the 2016 Australian Open.
“It means a lot to me. All the hard work I put in every day has paid off. To beat Rafa – the best player in history on clay – it means a lot,” Alcaraz stated.
Alcaraz endured a straight-sets loss to Nadal in Madrid a 12 months in the past on his 18th birthday, profitable solely three video games as a A hundred and twentieth-ranked wildcard.
The pair met once more in March within the Indian Wells semi-finals the place the older Spaniard gained in three units however not earlier than Alcaraz underlined his enormous potential. A day after turning 19, he lastly exacted revenge on his 35-year-old compatriot.
Alcaraz dominated within the opening set and dictated the factors however twisted his ankle within the second when making an attempt to achieve for a game-winning forehand.
Nadal took benefit of the stumble to cruise previous the youthful Spaniard after play was briefly suspended when a spectator was taken unwell.
Nadal appeared set to hold the momentum into the decider however Alcaraz rediscovered his type and held his nerve to see off the problem from the 21-times Grand Slam champion.
“The fall in the second set affected me a lot,” Alcaraz added. “When I misplaced the second (set), I went to the toilet and thought I used to be in a position to come again to do my greatest and take a look at all the pieces.
“I wanted to fight until the last ball and that was the key.”
Alcaraz will face Djokovic, who eased 6-3 6-4 previous Hubert Hurkacz earlier, for a spot within the remaining and joked that he would flip to Argentine David Nalbandian for recommendation on how one can topple the Serb.
At the 2007 event, an unseeded Nalbandian overcame overwhelming odds and achieved the uncommon feat of beating the Big Three of Nadal, Djokovic and Roger Federer within the quarter-finals, semi-finals and remaining, respectively.
“I will text Nalbandian on how he did it,” Alcaraz stated. “I’m focusing on tomorrow… I will fight and let’s see what happens.”
Bidding for his fourth title within the Spanish capital, Djokovic appeared rather more like his normal self in opposition to Hurkacz as he continued to work his method again in direction of high type forward of the French Open, which begins later this month.
The 34-year-old was given a walkover into the quarter-finals when opponent Andy Murray withdrew from their extremely anticipated conflict attributable to sickness and the top-seeded Serb received straight right down to enterprise in opposition to Hurkacz.
Djokovic triumphed after an hour and 20 minutes and despatched down 16 winners whereas he didn’t face a break level from Hurkacz, and prolonged his excellent document in opposition to the Pole to 4-0.
Greek fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas outlasted sixth seed Andrey Rublev 6-3 2-6 6-4 to seal his spot within the semi-finals, the place he’ll face both defending champion Alexander Zverev or Felix Auger-Aliassime.
“It wasn’t easy playing him, it was tough to predict what’s coming next from him,” Tsitsipas, who gained the Monte Carlo Masters final month, stated.
The win was additionally Tsitsipas’ twenty seventh of the season — greater than every other participant on the ATP Tour — as he improved his claycourt document in 2022 to 10-1.
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