Alcaraz sets up semifinal clash against Hurkacz; Medvedev exits Miami Open
Miami, April 1 (IANS): Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz reached back-to-back ATP Masters 1000 semifinals, as the 18-year-old defeated Miomir Kecmanovic of Serbia 6-7(5), 6-3, 7-6(5) to enter the last-four at the Miami Open on Friday (IST).
Alacraz will take on Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz for a place in the final. The 25-year-old Pole defeated Russia’s world No 2 Daniil Medvedev 7-6(7), 6-3.
“I think that I’m playing in Spain,” Alcaraz said of the crowd’s support. “It’s unbelievable. The energy that they push to me, it was crazy. I think without them it would not be possible to get into the semifinals today,” the Spaniard was quoted as saying by atptour.com.
Alcraz was just two points from defeat at 4-5, 15/30, and again at 5/3 in the tie-break. But he succeeded in crucial moments, winning the final four points of the match to seal the deal.
“Miomir was playing unbelievable,” said Alcaraz after his first meeting with the Serb. “I knew that I had to put a good level from my side. He had chances to win the match. I did a great shot at 4-5 in the third set, 15/30,” he added.
Alcaraz did not have a Miami win to his name entering this year’s event, but has now won four in a row to improve his record this season to 16-2.
Alcaraz has little time to recover as he faces defending champion Hubert Hurkacz, a winner over Medvedev.
Hurkacz moved to within two wins of retaining his Miami title as he ended the Russian’s world No. 1 bid in grand fashion. In a close quarterfinal contest, the Pole gave a complete performance to beat the Russian in two hours and two minutes.
“I think the return was crucial. I was able to make a lot of returns and get some free points on my serve, because having rallies with Daniil is fun, but they get long,” Hurkacz said. “It is good I was able to get some free points.
“I have spent a lot of time in Florida, so I am used to the humidity. I think the conditions were in my favour today, so I tried to use them.”
Medvedev spent three weeks as the world No 1 from February 28 to March 21 this year before he relinquished the spot to Serbian Novak Djokovic. Victory over Hurkacz would have moved Medvedev back to the summit on Monday.
However, the four-time Masters 1000 champion, who was aiming to reach the semifinals in Miami for the first time, never got into top gear against Hurkacz as he struggled with his baseline game.
On his upcoming semifinal against Alcaraz, Hurkacz said: “Carlos has been playing some amazing tennis this year, only played good matches I think, so that would be super tough.”
It is just the second time Hurkacz has defeated a top-2 opponent, with his other win coming against then-world No 2 Medvedev at Wimbledon in July.