Top seed Carlos Alcaraz defeated Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-4, 6-4 on Thursday to book a semi-final meeting with Jannik Sinner at the WTA and ATP Masters 1000 in Indian Wells.
Alcaraz scored his first win over the 10th-placed Canadian in four career meetings to keep his bid to regain world number one on track.
“I probably played one of my best games this season so I’m really happy,” said Alcaraz.
Italy’s Sinner reached the Final Four with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 win over defending champion Taylor Fritz and now has a chance to avenge his loss to Alcaraz in a quarter-final thriller at the US Open last year.
This five-set bout lasted five hours and 15 minutes, ending at 2:50 a.m., the latest in US Open history. Alcaraz would lift the trophy and become the youngest world number one in the history of the ATP rankings.
“I’m very happy to play against him again,” said Alcaraz about the duel with Sinner. “Big battles.”
Alcaraz has fallen behind Novak Djokovic in the rankings but after his 2023 season start was delayed until February due to injury, the 19-year-old Spaniard won a title in Buenos Aires and reached the final in Rio de Janeiro.
Alcaraz hadn’t dropped a set by reaching the quarter-finals, but Auger-Aliassime was the first top-10 player he faced that year.
This time Alcaraz was ready for him, saying his previous defeats against Auger-Aliassime had taught him to ‘stay there’.
“The matches so far, it was tight in the Davis Cup, I had my chances there,” said Alcaraz, who was last defeated by the Canadian in October in Basel.
“I remember giving up a bit in Basel. Today my goal was to stay there. I knew I would have my chances, (I) tried to take them.”
The two-hour duel was an exciting demonstration of both players’ athleticism and shooting power.
Alcaraz saved the first break point he faced when he served the opener, but after opening the second break Auger-Aliassime – who saved six match points in a fourth-round win over Tommy Paul – promptly broke Set back the tone for a tense back and forth.
Auger-Aliassime had already saved two break points in game 10 when Alcaraz gave himself another with a backhand volley winner.
The seven-minute game ended with Auger-Aliassime sending a backhand wide and serving convincingly, ending the match with another forehand winner.
“He’s got a big serve, a really big first serve,” said Alcaraz, who had never broken Auger-Aliassime’s serve before. “I tried to attack the second serve, tried to dominate the point, tried to play from the baseline – I tried to be aggressive and take the opportunity when he served the second serve.”
Source : sports.yahoo.com