The Heir vs the King: Teen Alcaraz ends Norrie’s run to set up clash with Legend Nadal
Alcaraz’s nine-match winning streak or Nadal’s 19-match winning streak. One of these will come to an end on Saturday
It will be a battle of the ‘Heir vs the King’ on Saturday as 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz will take on 34-year-old Rafael Nadal in an all-Spanish semi-final at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
Alcaraz, who was competing in his first ATP Masters Series quarter-final on Thursday, ended the run of defending champion Cameron Norrie in straight sets to set up the mouth-watering clash.
Norrie unable to consolidate early breaks as Alcaraz wins in straight sets
Norrie, who won the 2021 edition held in October last year, started the match on a strong note, breaking early for a 2-0 lead. After Alcaraz battled back to 2-2, Norrie broke again to lead 3-2 but the Spanish teen leveled and then broke once again in the 10th game to win the first set 6-4.
In the second set, it was Norrie who one again broke first but was not able to consolidate the break to hold the lead. Alcaraz got the decisive eighth game of the second set and served out the 6-4, 6-3 win in one hour and 44 minutes.
Alcaraz won six of eight break points he earned on the Norrie serve while the Brit was able to win only four out of nine off the Spaniard’s serve.
Can the teen end Nadal’s 19-match win streak?
With the win, the Spanish teen extended his winning streak to nine matches, having won the Rio Open ATP 500 event in February. He has now won 17 of his last 18 matches dating back to November’s ATP Next Gen Finals and also becomes the youngest semifinalist at Indian Wells since Andre Agassi in 1988.
His opponent, Nadal, maintained his perfect start to the season, winning his 19th match in a row after beating a charged up Nick Kyrgios 7-6, 5-7, 6-4 in two hours and 46 minutes in the first men’s quarter-final of the day.
The two Spaniards will be meeting for only the second time on the tour, with Nadal winning their only previous meeting 6-1, 6-2 on the clay courts of Madrid last year.