Carlos Alcaraz failed to beat Rafael Nadal in his first Masters semi-final, but two weeks later he made another Masters semi-final and this time managed to go one step further. In Indian Wells, Alcaraz reached his first Masters semi-final before falling to Nadal 6-4, 4-6, 6-3.
This Friday, Alcaraz played his second Masters semi-final and this time he ended up on the winning side as the 18-year-old defeated Hubert Hurkacz 7-6(5), 7-6(3). After beating Hurkacz, Alcaraz was asked what he had learned from the match against Nadal.
"Well, it was a great match against Rafa. I think I played a great match against him. But I think I've learned how to play in a Masters 1000 semi-final. It was my first, so now it's my second. I managed to do much better than in Indian Wells," Alcaraz explained.
"It was a different game, I mean, this one than Rafa's, but I think that the nerves, the hard moments, I managed better in this one than in Indian Wells" Although Alcaraz is only 18 years old, he is fast becoming one of the best players on Tour.
After beating Alcaraz, Nadal had words of praise for the 18-year-old, who some are calling the new Nadal. "I took it as another semi-final match. He is not a young player who is ranked 100th in the world and is coming. He's already a top player, so I treated him like one, playing against one of the best players in the world," Nadal said.
"It doesn't matter if he's young or not, he's a great guy, an amazing player and he has a fantastic future."
Ferrer speaks about Rafa Nadal
Rafael Nadal's plans for his clay season have been derailed by the rib injury he suffered at Indian Wells.
''There will surely be three 'top 10' (Stefanos Tsitsipas, Casper Ruud, and Hubert Hurkacz) and 11 of the top 20," Ferrer was quoted as saying by MARCA. "A final between Tsitsipas and Carlos Alcaraz would be attractive." The Spaniard has gone from strength to strength this year, cracking the top 15 in the ATP rankings.
"Nadal is an irreplaceable player, but we have the novelty of Alcaraz, who creates a lot of expectations after how he has broken into the circuit this year. Having Rafa is something unique and the only thing I hope is that he recovers as soon as possible," Ferrer said.
News of a serious problem in his ribs has derailed his preparations for a 22nd Grand Slam title and 14th French Open crown this year.