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Alcaraz fends off Norrie to put exclamation point on wild day in Madrid

Carlos Alcaraz needed three sets to get past Cameron Norrie in the last match of the day on Thursday at the Madrid Masters. Alcaraz earned a spot alongside Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals.

Carlos Alcaraz Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz Garfia reacts during his semi final match against Australia’s Alex de Minaur (Panoramic)

Mutua Madrid Open | Draw Order of play

Thursday at the Mutua Madrid Open began in disappointment, as Andy Murray was forced to withdraw from his third-round match against Novak Djokovic due to illness. It would have been their first meeting since 2017.

For the Spanish crowd, however, things would soon turn around for the better. Not only did the fans get to see Rafael Nadal save four match points in a wild, roller-coaster ride against David Goffin en route to a 6-3, 5-7, 7-6(9) victory, but they also watched Carlos Alcaraz win a three-setter of his own at the expense of Cameron Norrie. Alcaraz prevailed 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-3 after two hours and 39 minutes.

Alcaraz celebrates 19th birthday with a win

Alcaraz turned 19 years old on Thursday, so he did not want to end his big day on a sour note. Norrie, of course, had other ideas. The 11th-ranked Brit gave back a break in the second set after failing to hold serve from 40-0 up at 3-2, but he recovered from that mistake to force a tiebreaker. Norrie took the ‘breaker seven points to four and had plenty of chances in the third set. However, four break points went by the wayside, so two breaks for the teenager were more than enough for him to prevail.

“It has been a really tough match (and) a tough opponent,” Alcaraz commented. “I knew that I had to play really good. I’m really happy with the performance today and very focused on the next round.”

Nadal vs. Alcaraz in Madrid quarterfinals

That next round will come against none other than Nadal, who leads the head-to-head series 2-0.

“I lost twice against him and I wanted to play against him the third time,” Alcaraz noted. “I think it’s going to be different from last year (in Madrid) and the last match that we played (in Indian Wells earlier this spring). I’m excited to play against Rafa here in Madrid in front of the Spanish crowd. It’s going to be a great day and a great match.”

They will have to produce something incredibly for it to be any better than what the Spanish crowd witnessed on Thursday.

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