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In first match after six-week injury layoff, Alcaraz goes down to Rublev in Abu Dhabi semis

The Spaniard had suffered an abdominal tear during the Paris Masters and had been off the tour for six weeks

Carlos Alcaraz at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship Carlos Alcaraz at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship

Playing his first match in six weeks due to an abdominal tear, world No 1 Carlos Alcaraz was defeated in straight sets by defending champion Andrey Rublev at the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.

Rublev, who is ranked No 8 in the world, won 6-2, 6-1 to set up a final against Stefanos Tsitsipas, who defeated Casper Ruud 6-2, 6-2 in the first semi-final on Saturday.

Alcaraz will now face off against Ruud in the third place playoff on Sunday. The 19-year-old had injured his abdomen during the Paris Masters and was subsequently forced to pull out of the season-ending ATP Finals. Despite that, the Spaniard had done enough to secure the year-end world No 1 ranking.

Alcaraz was happy he was able to test himself against some of the top players despite the limited time he had to prepare.

“These are my first points and my first match since the Rolex Paris Masters. I couldn’t prepare as I wanted but it’s still good to have been able to come here to play against the best players in the world to prepare for the 2023 season,” Alcaraz said on court after the match.

Rublev was happy with his performance and is now looking forward to Sunday’s final against Tsitsipas.

“I am very happy to have been able to win today. Carlos had not played before today and I had already been able to play a match here so it was easier for me. In the final, it won’t be easy against Stefanos Tsitsipas but I can’t wait to be there and have fun, it’s going to be fun,” Rublev said after the win.

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