Alcaraz reaches Madrid semis; Pegula upset

Products You May Like

MADRID — Defending champion Carlos Alcaraz overcame a tough test from Karen Khachanov on his way to the semifinals of the Madrid Open on Wednesday, rallying late in the second set for a hard-fought 6-4, 7-5 win.

Alcaraz was down 4-1 and 5-2 in the final set before winning the final five games to secure his fourth straight-set victory in Madrid. The top-seeded Spaniard improved to 27-2 this year, having dropped only one set in his last 19 victories. He will be playing in his third Masters 1000 semifinals of the season.

“I knew I had to keep fighting no matter what,” Alcaraz said. “I had to stay strong because I knew that I would have my opportunities, and gladly I took advantage of the first one that I had to close out the match.”

Alcaraz converted on his first match point after the 10th-seeded Khachanov had taken control of the second set with an early break. The Russian had two break opportunities to go up 5-1 before Alcaraz rallied for the victory. The Spaniard, who finished with 31 winners, had converted on his first break opportunity to go up 4-3 and win the first set.

Alcaraz will next face either 17th-seeded Borna Coric or lucky loser Daniel Altmaier, who will play later Thursday.

“This victory will give me a lot of confidence,” said Alcaraz, who will turn 20 on Friday. “Karen had been playing at a great level and took me to the limit. The match was decided on small details. He had the chance to win the second set but it came down to details. I’m very happy to have advanced past a player like Karen.”

Alcaraz had cruised past last year’s runner-up Alexander Zverev in the previous round, while Khachanov — a semifinalist at the Australian Open this year and at the US Open last year — had beaten fifth-seeded Andrey Rublev.

Alcaraz is trying to become the first player this season to win two Masters 1000 titles, after having already lifted the trophy in Indian Wells. He successfully defended his title in Barcelona and also won in Buenos Aires.

If Alcaraz wins the title again in Madrid and plays at least one match in Rome, he will regain the No. 1 spot in the world rankings.

Veronika Kudermetova reached the semifinals of a WTA 1000 event for the first time by upsetting third-seeded Jessica Pegula 6-4, 0-6, 6-4 in the women’s quarterfinals.

The 12th-seeded Kudermetova sealed her victory with an ace on her second match point to set up a semifinal match against either No. 1 Iga Swiatek or Petra Martic, who will play later Wednesday.

Pegula was trying to reach her second consecutive final in Madrid. She was runner-up to Ons Jabeur at the clay-court tournament last year.

It was the fourth consecutive three-set win for Kudermetova.

“I feel so happy and proud of myself, because every match I played three sets,” Kudermetova said. “Before this match, every match was almost three hours. Today, only two hours, I feel fresh.”

She had reached three quarterfinals at WTA 1000 level or above, all in 2022, including at Roland Garros for her best run at a Grand Slam. The 26-year-old Kudermetova had reached two other semifinals this year, in Adelaide and Doha. She entered the tournament in Madrid on a four-match losing streak.

Pegula struggled on her serve and showed frustration at times, including by knocking her racket onto the ground. She was broken three times in both the first and third sets, though she needed only 22 minutes to get through the second as Kudermetova won only five points.

The last player to reach the Madrid semifinals by winning four straight three-set matches was Dominika Cibulkova in 2016, when she was runner-up to Simona Halep.

The other women’s semifinal match will be played between second-seeded Aryna Sabalenka and ninth-seeded Maria Sakkari.

Products You May Like

Articles You May Like

Rafael Nadal kondigt deelname aan aan het Barcelona Open
Gemma Triay: Reflecties op nieuwe partners en benadering in Premier Padel
Casper Ruud verslaat Novak Djokovic voor eerste keer in carrière en bereikt finales Masters van Monte Carlo
Novak Djokovic reflects on disappointing Monte Carlo Masters in 2024
Rafael Nadal’s Triumphant Return to Clay Courts