Carlos Alcaraz in Barcelona: ‘I think that I’m ready to get the title’

Carlos Alcaraz

Carlos Alcaraz claimed what he described as probably the biggest win of his clay court career when he down Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Barcelona Open quarterfinals on Friday night.

Alcaraz fended off a comeback from Tsitsipas to win 6-4, 5-7, 6-2 in two hours and 12 minutes.

Tsitsipas hasn’t been at his clinical best in Barcelona.

The World No 5 admitted that he struggled to get into his opening match, but his demolition of Grigor Dimitrov earlier in the day showed he was still a genuine contender.

Alcaraz suffered an early exit in Monte Carlo but has found another level in Barcelona and his third victory in three meetings against Tsitsipas isn’t that much of an upset, although that doesn’t dim its significance.

“Probably my biggest win on clay court. It was unbelievable,” said Carlos Alcaraz, who will crack the Top 10 of the ATP Rankings for the first time on Monday.

“Unbelievable game that I played, unbelievable atmosphere that I lived today on court. It was unbelievable everything. The atmosphere here, the crowd, the level that I played, the level of the match. It was incredible.”

Alcaraz showed wisdom beyond his years when he took a toilet break ahead of the third set.

The Spaniard returned refocused and bouldered through the final set in quick time, overwhelming Tsitsipas.

“I went to the bathroom just to turn off my mind, just trying to change what I played at the end of the second set, just to be focussed on the third set,” he explained. “Forget everything in the match and just give 100 per cent in the third set.”

Carlos Alcaraz will face 10th seed Alex de Minaur in Saturday’s semis and is now on track for a third trophy of the 2022 season.

The 18-year-old’s odds of winning the French Open are set to be slashed whether he takes the title or not, and are unlikely to lengthen before the tournament.

He must now be the favourite to lift the Barcelona Open trophy.

“I think I beat the favourite,” he said of his win over Tsitsipas.

“I’m playing an incredible level. And I think that I’m ready to get the title.”