Alcaraz craves for revenge
JAVIER SORIANO/agence france-presse
CARLOS Alcaraz gets a chance to avenge his French Open loss when he battles Alexander Zverev in the Round of 16 of the Madrid Open.
JAVIER SORIANO/agence france-presse CARLOS Alcaraz gets a chance to avenge his French Open loss when he battles Alexander Zverev in the Round of 16 of the Madrid Open.
MADRID, Spain (AFP) — World No. 2 and defending champion Carlos Alcaraz set up a Madrid Open Last 16 duel with Alexander Zverev, the German rival who handed him a heartbreaking, reality-check defeat at Roland Garros last year.
Alcaraz defeated Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 6-2, 7-5 in the Madrid third round as he continues his bid to win a 10th tour title before his 20th birthday.
The Spanish crowd-pleaser was briefly troubled when 31-year-old Dimitrov broke for a 4-2 lead in the second set.
However, that merely delayed the inevitable as Alcaraz wrapped up victory in 90 minutes, making just four unforced errors. It was his 25th win of 2023 against just two losses and a 15th victory on clay.
The 19-year-old swept past Zverev in the Madrid final in 2022 for the loss of just four games.
However, just weeks later, the German claimed a four-set victory in the French Open quarter-finals. That was Zverev’s third win in the pair’s four meetings.
“I really want to play that match. We played a few times, head-to-head he is up,” Alcaraz said.
“I really want to show my great level here in front of my home crowd. I have great memories from last year in the final but obviously I have to be really focused in that match.”
He added: “I know that Sascha is a really good player, a really aggressive one with good serves. I have to show all my skills.”
Two-time Madrid champion Zverev needed just 56 minutes earlier Sunday to dispose of France’s Hugo Grenier 6-1, 6-0 on the back of six breaks of serve and 26 winners.
“With Carlos it will be a match-up people will look forward to,” the
16th-ranked Zverev said.
“We played in the final here last year, played a massive match at Roland Garros before I got injured (in the semi-final against Rafael Nadal).”
Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina toppled world number seven Holger Rune 7-6 (7/1), 5-7, 7-6 (7/5).
Rune, who turned 20 on Saturday, had saved a match point in the previous round against Alexander Bublik.
But it was Davidovich Fokina who came through the tight encounter to line up a clash with Borna Coric for a place in the Last Eight.
World No. 1 Iga Swiatek claimed she had endured a “tricky” afternoon despite easing to a straight-sets win over American left-hander Bernarda Pera to reach the Last 16 of the women’s tournament in the Spanish capital.
Swiatek, warming up for the defense of her French Open title, claimed a 6-3, 6-2 win for a sixth consecutive victory on clay this season.
“I wouldn’t say it was easy. Every match is tricky here,” Swiatek said after her 75-minute outing.
“I’m happy that I’m getting my rhythm. Playing against a lefty is never easy but I’m pretty happy that I was disciplined and focused.”
Swiatek next faces 16th seed Ekaterina Alexandrova who came from a set down to see off Zheng Qinwen of China.
Also progressing to the fourth round was world No. 3 Jessica Pegula, who clinched a grueling 6-4, 7-6 (7/2) victory over Marie Bouzkova of the Czech Republic.
Pegula, 29, made the final in Madrid in 2022 where she lost to Ons Jabeur. She will now tackle Italy’s Martina Trevisan on Monday for a quarterfinal spot.
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