ATP Madrid: Carlos Alcaraz overpowers Rafael Nadal and sends clear message
by JOVICA ILIC | VIEW 10988
It will take something special to stop Carlos Alcaraz in Madrid! A four-time Caja Magica champion Rafael Nadal did not have that on Friday, as the youngster beat him 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 in two hours and 28 minutes. Alcaraz overpowered Nadal for the first time in three encounters, experiencing an injury in the second set and starting all over in the decider to leave the king of clay behind and set the semi-final clash with Novak Djokovic.
Carlos saved six out of nine break points and delivered four return games from five opportunities to control the scoreboard and remain on the title course. The youngster overpowered the veteran with 37 winners and 31 unforced errors, dictating the pace and showing his incredible skills in front of the home fans a day after turning 19!
Nadal tried his best, but it was not enough after a massive battle versus David Goffin yesterday and four match points saved. The 21-time Major winner will seek another chance in Rome next week, his last preparation ahead of Roland Garros.
The youngster fired a forehand down the line winner in the encounter's first game for an early break and a boost. Carlos came from 40-0 down in the second game and fended off three break chances before squandering a game point.
Nadal seized the fourth break chance after the rival's double fault to level the score at 1-1. The more experienced Spaniard wasted two game points in the third game and experienced the second break to fall 2-1 behind. Carlos served well in the remaining games and controlled the pace.
He grabbed the third break after a cracking forehand winner in game seven to open a 5-2 gap and held at love with a service winner in the next one for 6-2 in 47 minutes. Nadal brought the game home after deuces at the beginning of the second set and squandered three break points in game two.
Rafa held at 15 in game three, and Carlos injured his ankle in the last point to receive a medical timeout.
Carlos Alcaraz toppled Rafael Nadal in three sets.
Nadal was the only player on the court in the rest of the set, serving well and delivering breaks in games four and six to open a 5-1 gap.
Serving for the set in game seven, a four-time Caja Magica champion held at love in game seven for 6-1 and a massive boost ahead of the decider. Starting all over, Alcaraz brought back his A-game in the final set, and Nadal failed to follow that pace.
After three comfortable holds on both sides, Carlos earned three break points in the fourth game with a backhand crosscourt winner and seized it for the crucial advantage. It was Alcaraz's tenth backhand winner, while his rival stood on zero!
The youngster held at 30 in game five to confirm the lead and open a 4-1 gap. Rafa closed the sixth game at love, but he needed a quick break to get back into contention. Carlos secured game seven at 15 to open a 5-2 gap and move closer to the finish line.
Rafa grabbed the eighth game to prolong the action and force the rival to serve for the victory. Showing no sign of nerves, Alcaraz earned a match point with a drop shot winner in game nine and seized it with an incredible forehand down the line winner to emerge at the top in style.