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Change of guard? Alcaraz overpowers Nadal at Madrid Open

This time, the Spanish participant being celebrated on middle courtroom wasn’t Rafael Nadal.

The loud cheers from spectators on the Caja Mágica in Madrid had been, as an alternative, directed on the teenage sensation thought of the Spanish successor to the all-time nice Nadal.

In a conflict of generations, 19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz overcame an damage to defeat his idol 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 within the Madrid Open quarterfinals on Friday.

The teen recovered from a foul ankle twist early within the second set to earn his first victory towards Nadal, marking what could possibly be the start of a change of guard in Spanish tennis.

“It’s obvious there’s (a change in guard),” Nadal mentioned.

“He turned 19 yesterday, I’m almost 36 years old. If (the change) begins today or not, we will find out in the next months. I’m happy for him. He was better than me in several aspects of the game.” Nadal additionally was loudly supported all through the match, and the five-time champion acquired an enormous ovation as he left the courtroom.

Alcaraz was emotional afterwards.

“It means a lot to me to beat Rafa, to beat the best player in the history on clay,” he mentioned.

“This is the result of all the hard work I’ve done.” It was Nadal’s first loss to a Spaniard in six years, since to Fernando Verdasco on the 2016 Australian Open. He had a 138-21 document towards his countrymen earlier than going through Alcaraz for a 3rd time.

The ninth-ranked Alcaraz is the youngest ever semifinalist in Madrid. He will subsequent face top-ranked Novak Djokovic, who eased previous Hubert Hurkacz 6-3, 6-4.

The different semifinal shall be between Stefanos Tsitsipas and defending champion Alexander Zverev. The fourth-seeded Tsitsipas defeated Andrey Rublev 6-3, 2-6, 6-4, whereas the second-seeded Zverev beat Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-3, 7-5.

Still removed from his finest type after a six-week damage layoff, Nadal predicted a tough time maintaining with the power of Alcaraz. He was proper early on, because the teenager overpowered him to simply win the primary set with three breaks.

But Alcaraz misplaced momentum after needing medical consideration for his proper ankle, shedding 20 of the following 22 factors as Nadal cruised by the second set.

“It was a little bit painful, but it was no reason to do the second set that I have done,” Alcaraz mentioned.

“I think that I have let myself go. I was thinking of my ankle all the time and not on playing the match.”

The match additionally was interrupted within the second set after a fan turned unwell within the stands.

Both gamers obtained off to an awesome begin this season; each have a tour-leading three titles already.

Nadal’s run was hampered by a rib stress fracture he sustained in his semifinal win towards Alcaraz in Indian Wells. Nadal saved 4 match factors to get previous David Goffin in a third-round match that lasted greater than three hours on Thursday.

He mentioned it was a optimistic steadiness for him after successful two matches following his damage layoff.

“It’s an easy loss to digest in that regard, because we knew what we could expect here,” he mentioned.

“My only dream is (to) be in Paris (for the French Open) healthy enough and physically good enough to compete at the highest level possible.”

Three-time Madrid champion Djokovic had little bother towards Hurkacz. The Serb took benefit of Hurkacz’s sluggish begin and took a 3-0 lead after the Polish participant ceded his first service sport by hitting lengthy.

Another spate of unforced errors price Hurkacz a second-set break when he smacked a forehand lengthy. Djokovic’s dominance was by no means ended and he gained on his fourth match level.

Djokovic is making an attempt to regain his finest type after not being allowed to play within the Australian Open as a result of he was not vaccinated.

“It’s definitely a positive indication that I am on the right track in terms of getting to the desired level of tennis, being in one of the best tournaments in the world where all the best players are playing,” he mentioned.

“It does give me confidence, and it encourages me to keep going. I have a lot of positives to take from the last couple of days.”
Djokovic beat Gael Monfils in straight units to start out his marketing campaign on the outside clay match, and a walkover after Andy Murray withdrew due to a abdomen sickness earlier than their match on Thursday.

Djokovic praised Alcaraz after arriving in Madrid this week, and mentioned his son had already changed Nadal with the younger Spaniard as his favourite participant.

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