ATP Rio: Carlos Alcaraz edges Dusan Lajovic and reaches last four

Carlos Alcaraz will face Nicolas Jarry in the semi-final

by Jovica Ilic
ATP Rio: Carlos Alcaraz edges Dusan Lajovic and reaches last four

World no. 2 Carlos Alcaraz conquered his comeback tournament in Buenos Aires last week. The young Spaniard can still win back-to-back titles after reaching the semi-final at the ATP 500 event in Rio. Carlos faced Dusan Lajovic in the quarter-final and scored a hard-fought 6-4, 7-6 triumph in an hour and 54 minutes.

Alcaraz trailed 4-2 in both sets before turning the tables to avoid a decider. The young fended off a set point on the return at 5-6 in the second set and grabbed the tie break at love to advance into the last four. Carlos saved five out of eight break points and clinched four breaks from six chances, enough to avoid a decider.

Alcaraz hit 32 winners and 25 unforced errors and barely missed a point at the net to advance into the next round. Lajovic was off to a better start, producing two fine holds and breaking Alcaraz at 2-2 after the youngster's loose forehand.

Carlos Alcaraz battled past Dusan Lajovic in Rio.

Carlos shifted into a higher gear from 4-2 down, serving well in game seven and pulling the break back in the next one with a mighty forehand winner. With a boost on his side, the Spaniard claimed the ninth game with a service winner and created a set point on the return in the next one with a backhand slice winner.

Carlos seized with a forehand winner and rattled off four straight games to steal the set. Both players served well at the start of the second set to remain locked at 2-2. Like in the opener, Carlos got broken in the fifth game on the fourth break point following a wayward forehand.

Dusan held in game six with a service winner to open a 4-2 gap and settle into a fine rhythm, hoping to force a decider. Alcaraz held after deuce in game seven and broke back a few minutes later after a backhand return winner that propelled him back to 4-4.

They produced good holds in games nine and ten to remain even at 5-5. The Spaniard squandered numerous game points in game 11 and sent a forehand out on the second break point to push the Serb in front. Lajovic served for the set at 6-5 and squandered a set point at the net.

Carlos saved it with a volley winner and broke back with a smash winner to extend the set and his chances. The Spaniard gained a boost and stood as the only player on the court in the tie break. Alcaraz clinched four mini-breaks and fired a forehand winner at 6-0 to wrap up the breaker in style and advance into the last four.

Carlos Alcaraz Dusan Lajovic Nicolas Jarry