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Alcaraz reaches Barcelona semis and world top 10



BARCELONA:

Carlos Alcaraz defeated top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas in a three-set rollercoaster to reach the Barcelona semi-finals on Friday and become the youngest player since Rafael Nadal in 2005 to make the world top 10.

The 18-year-old Spaniard saw off world number five Tsitsipas, who had successfully defended his Monte Carlo Masters title last weekend, 6-4, 5-7, 6-2.

On Monday, Alcaraz will become the first teenager to make the top 10 since Andy Murray in 2007 and youngest since compatriot and 21-time major winner Nadal 17 years ago.

“Probably my biggest win on clay court. It was unbelievable,” said Alcaraz on court.

“Unbelievable match, unbelievable atmosphere that I lived today on court. It was unbelievable everything. It was incredible.”

Alcaraz’s 21st match win of 2022 could have been wrapped up in straight sets when he led 4-1 in the second set.

However, he recovered and swept through the decider to set up a semi-final showdown against Australia’s Alex De Minaur as he looks to take another step closer to a third title of the year after Rio and the Miami Masters.

Friday’s victory was his third in three meetings against Greek star Tsitsipas whose mood on Friday was not helped when he was handed two separate point penalties for a mid-set break at 0-3 down in the third set and a time violation.

In all 12 matches took place Friday after only two were possible on Thursday as heavy rain drenched the city.

De Minaur saw off British fourth seed Cameron Norrie 6-3, 5-7, 6-1 in his quarter-final.

Earlier in the day, Norrie had needed an exhausting three and a half hours to defeat Marton Fucsovics 7-5, 6-7 (9/11), 6-4 in his delayed third round clash.

By contrast, De Minaur booked his quarter-final place when South Africa’s Lloyd Harris retired after dropping the first set 6-0.

Pablo Carreno Busta and Diego Schwartzman will meet in the other semi-final after also pulling double duty on Friday.

Carreno Busta saved three match points against second-seeded Casper Ruud of Norway and then overcame an early break in the third set to survive 4-6, 7-6 (8/10), 6-3, after three hours.

“I’m so, so happy for this victory,” said the 30-year-old Spaniard who beat Lorenzo Sonego in another three-setter earlier in the day.

“It was very emotional today playing in front of my people, in my home. I was a set down after playing three hours this morning, so it’s very, very tough to come back.”

Schwartzman, the sixth seed, made the semi-finals by defeating third-seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.

The Argentine spent just over four hours on court Friday, beating Lorenzo Musetti, 6-4, 7-5 in the third round.



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