Carlos Alcaraz shows resilience to down Rafael Nadal
Carlos Alcaraz fought off the effects of an injury and a Rafael Nadal comeback to book his place in the Madrid Open semifinals.
Alcaraz claimed a 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 victory to secure a last-four meeting with World No 1 Novak Djokovic.
The 19-year-old took a nasty fall at one point but came out on top in the two-hour, 29-minute epic.
History made 💪
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) May 6, 2022
Alcaraz savoured the victory as a special moment in his career.
“It means a lot to me,” said Alcaraz after the match. “All the hard work that I put in every day pays off today. To beat Rafa, to beat the best player in history on clay, it means a lot to me.”
Alcaraz had lost both his previous meetings with Nadal but can seemingly do no wrong this season as he reaches the last four at a Masters event for the third time this season.
Nadal has never before lost to a teenager on clay giving Alcaraz another unique milestone in an amazing season.
Alcaraz broke Nadal in the first game, however, the 35-year-old struck right back.
Nadal couldn’t get a foothold in the set though and two further breaks saw Alacaraz take the opening stanza.
A slip early in the second set left Alcaraz struggling and Nadal pounced taking the second set with relative ease.
“It affected me a lot,” said the Spaniard. “When I lost the second set, I [just] thought that I was able to come back, to do my best, try everything on court, fight until the last ball. It was the key.”
However, Alcaraz gritted through his issues and would be reinvigorated in the third set.
The young Spaniard would claim a decisive break in the fourth game of the third set and hold firm on serve to secure passage to the last four.
Alcaraz has now won his last five matches against top ten opposition and will see that streak put to the test by Novak Djokovic.
The hard-fought victory over Nadal also elevates the Spaniard to No 6 in the all-new ATP Live Rankings. However, Andrey Rublev can reclaim that slot if he beats Stefanos Tsitsipas in another quarterfinal later on Friday night.
Aryna Sabalenka proves doubters wrong with emotional Grand Slam triumph
Aryna Sabalenka found another level to win brutal Australian Open final.
Aryna Sabalenka goes from underarm serving and 428 double faults in 2022 to mentality monster in 2023
Aryna Sabalenka has gone from underarm serving to coming up clutch in big moments en route to winning Australian Open.
Aryna Sabalenka powers her way to Australian Open title with impressive win over Elena Rybakina
Aryna Sabalenka is a Grand Slam champion!
Elena Rybakina’s coach Stefano Vukov under fire: ‘I hope she finds a coach who speaks and treats her with respect’
Stefano Vukov hasn’t made too many friends with his behaviour during matches.
Third time lucky for Alfie Hewett as he sets sights on being ‘figurehead’ for wheelchair tennis
The 25-year-old from Norfolk won his maiden Australian Open wheelchair singles title.
Novak Djokovic’s family ‘upset’ over flag uproar as Australian Open chief urges them ‘to be really careful’
“The family were very good. They were upset that it was taken that way.”
Stefanos Tsitsipas’ mentality and forehand labelled big weapons ahead of Novak Djokovic final
Stefanos Tsitsipas “in a different state of mind” after difficult 2022.
Novak Djokovic vs Stefanos Tsitsipas labelled a dream final
It is almost time to settle the new World No 1.
Inside story on the technology propelling Stefanos Tsitsipas to the top
Adidas have taken its tennis offering to a new level with the release of their Adizero Cybersonic tennis shoe.
Australian Open day 12 wrap: Novak Djokovic and Stefanos Tsitsipas set popcorn final
Alfie Hewett and Gordon Reid won their fourth successive Australian Open title in men’s wheelchair doubles.