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Alcaraz, looking unstoppable in Miami, muscles past Tsitsipas again

In a heavily anticipated rematch of their third-round tilt at the 2021 US Open, Carlos Alcaraz scored another win over Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Carlos Alcaraz, Miami 2022 Carlos Alcaraz beating Stefanos Tsitsipas, Miami 2022 © AI / Reuters / Panoramic

Miami Open 2022: Men’s Singles Draw | Results Order of Play

Carlos Alcaraz, still more than a month shy of his 19th birthday, has sent another shot across the bow of the ATP’s generation next.

In a rematch of last year’s US Open third-round epic (won by the Spaniard in five sets and four hours and seven minutes), Alcaraz delivered another show-stopping performance to knock off the Greek, 7-5, 6-3, to reach the quarter-finals at the Miami Open.

Alcaraz improves to 15-2 on the season – his only losses have come to Matteo Berrettini in a five-setter at the Australian Open and Rafael Nadal in a three-setter at Indian Wells earlier this month. The 16th-ranked Spaniard had never won a match at Miami prior to last week.

Tsitsipas started fast, Alcaraz responded in kind

A determined Tsitsipas took the early lead, as he played laser-focused tennis in the early going to sprint out to a 5-2 lead in the opening set. The deficit would be short-lived, however, as Alcaraz produced a surge of mind-bending tennis to reel off seven straight games that would stake the Spaniard to a 7-5, 2-0 lead.

During that stretch Alcaraz brought the Grandstand crowd to its feet on several occasions with a dizzying array of lobs, drop shots and punchy ground strokes that took the wind out of Tsitsipas’ sails.

All I can say is that I fought until the last ball in the first set.

Carlos Alcaraz

“I remember thinking that I have to win my serve to start the second set serving,” Alcaraz recalled of his difficulties in the first set. “I thought that I lost the first set. … it was really, really tough, he was playing unbelievable – all I can say is that I fought until the last ball in the first set.”

And there was this remarkable double tweener point that seemed to set the tone for the high-level tennis that would be played.

Tsitsipas played well, but it wasn’t enough

Alcaraz wound up winning 11 of the final 14 games but Tsitsipas played a strong match – he simply just couldn’t match the Spaniard’s level of intensity and execution.

Alcaraz finished with 28 winners against 22 unforced errors while Tsitsipas hit 20 winners and 30 unforced. Ultimately it was Alcaraz’s ability to take the Greek’s forehand out of play that led him to the convincing win.

“I knew that Stefanos is a player who always is looking for his forehand,” Alcaraz said. “I tried to hit two or three backhand crosscourt and then switch to down the line – it was the key, I think he lives in the backhand side all the time, looking for his forehand, it really important, the backhand down the line.”

Top-15 already?

Alcaraz stated his goal of reaching the top-15 at the beginning of the season, but it is apparently time for the Spaniard to make a new mission. He is projected to rise to No 15 in next week’s ATP rankings, and could potentially rise to No 11 with the title.

Alcaraz will face Miomir Kecmanovic in the quarter-finals. Kecmanovic dominated Taylor Frits, Indian Wells winner, in the last fourth round, before a possible semi-final against Daniil Medvedev or Hubert Hurkacz.

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