ATP Barcelona: Carlos Alcaraz downs Stefanos Tsitsipas and writes history
by JOVICA ILIC | VIEW 27721
Three years ago, Carlos Alcaraz was ranked just outside the top-500, ten days before turning 16. Super talented Spaniard will celebrate his 19th birthday on May 5 as a top-10 player after reaching the Barcelona Open semi-final on Friday night.
Facing a double duty due to the rain, Carlos took down Jaume Munar and Stefanos Tsitsipas to secure a spot in the last four and earn enough points to pass Cameron Norrie and crack the top-10 for the first time. At 18 years and 11 months, Alcaraz will become the ninth-youngest player in the top-10 and the first one to achieve that before turning 19 after Rafael Nadal in 2005.
Carlos scored the third victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas from as many encounters, beating the Greek 6-4, 5-7, 6-2 in two hours and 12 minutes. The youngster led 6-4, 4-1 and served before losing ground a bit and dropping the second set.
Still, he bounced back at the beginning of the third and brought the victory home to remain on the title course and write history.
Carlos Alcaraz is through to the semi-final at home in Barcelona.
Alcaraz blasted 40 winners and 17 unforced errors to overpower the last year's finalist and show him the exit door.
Carlos defended only one out of four break chances. Still, he erased that deficit with five return games from six opportunities, enough to propel him over the top. The youngster dropped only four points behind the first serve in the opening set, and the Greek could not follow that pace.
They reached 4-4 in under 30 minutes, and Carlos placed a drop shot winner in game nine for a break at 15 and the first advantage. Alcaraz held at love in game ten to claim the opener 6-4 in 36 minutes. The home favorite placed a backhand return winner in the second set's third game to grab a break and move in front.
Carlos confirmed the lead with a drop shot winner in game four and opened a 4-1 gap with a break at love thanks to a backhand winner. With no room for errors, Stefanos found his strokes in the next four games and claimed them to erase the deficit and move 5-4 in front with breaks in games six and eight.
The Greek grabbed the third break in the previous four return games at 6-5 following Carlos's wild forehand to introduce a decider. Starting all over, Alcaraz broke twice in a row to open a 3-0 gap in the final set. Tsitsipas received two points penalty for an extended toilet break ahead of the fourth game, and Alcaraz closed it with two quick points.
Serving for the victory at 5-2, Carlos held at love with a service winner to celebrate a massive milestone and advance into the last four.