Alcaraz rejects Fritz to reach semifinals in Miami

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – The hopes of American men’s tennis rest largely on the talented racquets of Taylor Fritz and Tommy Paul.

But a Spanish roadblock named Carlos Alcaraz stands in the way – never more illustrated by the past few days at the Miami Open.

Two days after knocking out Australian Open semifinalist Paul, top-seeded Alcaraz brought his spectacular arsenal to 10th-ranked American Fritz and stormed in a 6-4, 6-2 win at the Hard Rock Stadium to the semifinals.

In front of a crowded crowd that included John McEnroe and split in support, Alcaraz broke Fritz’s serve in the first game. He used this one pause to squeak out the first set and finished the match in a decent 1 hour and 18 minutes. Alcaraz faced just two break points and denied both chances as he improved his game record to 18-1 in 2023.

“I used every breakpoint I had,” said the Spaniard. “I was solid and aggressive at the same time.”

This was the first meeting between the two and a chance for Fritz to gauge how close he is to a breakthrough. The game was postponed Wednesday night, only delaying the inevitable.

“When you’re playing against the best player in the world, you can’t just drop your serve to start both sets,” Fritz said. “He doesn’t give you much for free. … He won all the important points in the match.”

Alcaraz, 19, proved too tough in Miami against two Americans who live in South Florida. Fritz recently moved to Miami and Paul has lived in the Delray Beach/Boca Raton area for years.

Alcaraz will play Jannik Sinner in Friday’s semi-final, a repeat of their semi-final in Indian Wells, where Alcaraz won the title.

The reigning US Open champion and defending Miami Open champion boasts a glorious drop shot, beautifully controlled groundstrokes and sneaky net play. Alcaraz’ graceful court reporting is reminiscent of his compatriot Rafael Nadal. There are no clear weaknesses, as Fritz found out.

Fritz had a moment to earn a break point against Alcaraz, who were 2-3 down, and tried to get back on serve. Alcaraz saved the breakpoint in a fantastic way. Fritz initially made a nice pop-up retrieve of a potential winner, but Alcaraz boldly took a chance moments later, rushing to the net to convert a difficult low-volley winner.

In an earlier quarterfinal from extreme height, No. 5 Daniil Medvedev ended 6ft 7 American qualifier Chris Eubanks’ best run of his career in a 6-3, 7-5 win.

For all his accomplishments, the 6-6 Medvedev, who has won 22 of his last 23 games, had never reached the semifinals of the Miami Open.

An all-Russian semi-final begins on Friday when he meets Karen Khachanov, who defeated Francisco Cerundolo 6-3, 6-2. Medvedev has a 3-1 career advantage over his longtime friend.

“We are from the same age group,” said Medvedev. “I’m almost certain we know how the game is going to end and it’s about who takes the best shot.”

Medvedev, who lost to Alcaraz in the final in Indian Wells, has won three ATP titles this year (Rotterdam, Doha and Dubai).

Eubanks, a 26-year-old former Georgia Tech star at No. 102, had never advanced to a quarterfinals of an ATP event of this level and had actor Jamie Foxx in the stands cheering him on.

“It’s been a dream week for me,” Eubanks said, noting that Foxx has been following his career “for the past few years.”

Eubanks served early with Medvedev, leading 3-2 before a brief rain delay. Medvedev came back roaring and won the next four games to end the set. Eubanks said Medvedev made a “tactical change” after the delay and hit his second serve.

The other women’s semifinals were finally settled when 15th-seeded Petra Kvitova met unseeded 74th-seeded Sorana Cirstea, who defeated Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka on Wednesday.

In a quarterfinal postponed by Wednesday night’s rain, Kvitova defeated No. 18 seed Ekaterina Alexandrova 6-4 3-6 6-3.

Kvitova shook off a series of double faults in the second and prevailed in the third, but without a day off against Cirstea she could be at a competitive disadvantage. Neither Kvitova nor Cirstea have an extra day to prepare for Saturday’s final.

The other semifinal was already set when Elena Rybakina faced Jessica Pegula in a top 10 stars match on Thursday night.

Alcaraz rejects Fritz to reach semifinals in Miami originally appeared on

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