Carlos Alcaraz breaks duck against Felix Auger-Aliassime, set for another ‘great battle’ against Jannik Sinner

Shahida Jacobs
A happy Carlos Alcaraz
Carlos Alcaraz celebrates

Carlos Alcaraz produced “one of his best matches this season” to claim his first-ever win over Felix Auger-Aliassime, but it doesn’t get easier at the Indian Wells Open as up next is Jannik Sinner.

Not only had Auger-Aliassime won their previous three encounters with the last one coming in Basel in October, but Alcaraz failed to break the Canadian’s serve in those clashes.

But the Spaniard upped his game in the quarter-final of the ATP Masters 1000 on Thursday as he secured a solid 6-4, 6-4 win in exactly two hours.

“Today, the goal was to stay there,” Alcaraz – who is now two wins away from regaining the world No 1 ranking, said. “I knew that I was going to have my chances. [I had to] try to take it. Probably I played one of my best matches this season, in 2023. I’m really happy and [want to] keep going.”

The teenager added: “This is the first time I broke his serve and I’m really proud of that.

“I tried to attack the second serve, tried to dominate the points, tried to play from the baseline and tried to be aggressive, taking the opportunity when he is serving the second serve.”

Alcaraz was the aggressor as Auger-Aliassime saved four break points in game five, but the top seed was not to be denied as he got the job done at the fifth time of asking.

The 19-year-old then broke in the opening game of the second set but this time the world No 10 hit back immediately only for Alcaraz to break again in game nine and reduce the deficit in his head-to-head with Auger-Aliassime to 1-3.

His semi-final clash against Sinner, who defeated defending champion Taylor Fritz 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, is set to be a tasty affair as their H2H is currently 2-2.

Their previous match-up came at last year’s US Open when Alcaraz won their quarter-final 6-3, 6-7 (7-9), 6-7 (0-7), 7-5, 6-3 before going on to lift the trophy at Flushing Meadows.

“I’m really happy to play against him again. Great battles,” the world No 2 said. “I enjoy the matches against him. I would say it’s going to be a really good match, for the fans as well, to watch that match. And for myself as well. I will try to show my best, to show my 100 per cent. Jannik is playing great. I’m going to enjoy that match.”

Sinner broke in the opening game of the match to take the opener before a single break in game 10 of the second set helped Fritz to draw level. The deciding break in the third set came in game before the Italian served it out.

“I just tried to play quite aggressively, which I’ve done,” Sinner said. “I’m obviously very happy about the performance. Playing against Taylor is never easy. I lost against him two years ago here. He loves the conditions here so I’m very happy that I found a way today.”

READ MORE: Will Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner share a generational rivalry?