ATP Madrid: Qualifier Aslan Karatsev extends great run

Aslan Karatsev prevailed against Zhizhen Zhang to reach the semi-final

by Jovica Ilic
ATP Madrid: Qualifier Aslan Karatsev extends great run

A qualifier Aslan Karatsev is through into his first Madrid Masters semi-final. Aslan prevailed over Zhizhen Zhang 7-6, 6-4 in an hour and 41 minutes. Thus, the Russian achieved his career-best Masters 1000 result and became the first qualifier in the Madrid Masters semi-final since Fabrice Santoro in 2002.

Aslan played better behind the first and second serve and kept his initial shot intact after fending off all three break points. Zhang, who also played his career-best Masters 1000 event, gave his everything to force a decider and extend his great run after beating three rivals in the deciding tie break.

The Chinese lost the tie break in the opening set and experienced the only break at the start of the second. It was enough for the Russian to forge the advantage and bring the victory home. Aslan controlled the rallies with 30 winners and 32 unforced errors.

Aslan Karatsev defeated Zhizhen Zhang in the Madrid Masters quarter-final.

Zhizhen stayed on nine winners and 17 mistakes, losing ground in the more advanced exchanges to hit the exit door after becoming the first Chinese player in the Masters 1000 quarter-final.

Karatsev held in the encounter's opening game with a smash winner, and Zhang responded with a hold at love for 1-1. The Russian sprayed a backhand error to experience three break points in game three, his only loose service game.

Karen denied them and held with a cracking forehand crosscourt winner that moved him 2-1 in front. Zhizhen saved a break point with a service winner and locked the result at 3-3 with a beautiful backhand down the line winner.

Both players served well in the remaining six games to introduce a tie break. Zhang kicked it off with a mini-break and won two points behind the initial shot to open a 3-0 gap. Aslan pulled the mini-break back in the sixth point with a backhand crosscourt winner and opened a 4-3 gap with another return point.

The Russian rattled off the sixth point with a backhand crosscourt winner and earned three set points. Zhizhen hit a double fault to lose the breaker 7-3 after an hour and send the rival in front. Aslan used this momentum and produced the only break at the start of the second set when his opponent netted a forehand.

The Russian did everything right in his games by the end of the clash, keeping the advantage and moving over the top with a smash winner at 5-4.

Atp Madrid Aslan Karatsev Zhizhen Zhang