Alcaraz beats top-seeded Tsitsipas to reach Barcelona semis

2022-04-22 Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, Conde de Godo Trophy
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BARCELONA, Spain – Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz thrilled the home crowd by beating top-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas in three sets to advance to the semifinals of the Barcelona Open.

Alcaraz won the quarterfinal 6-4, 5-7, 6-2 after breaking the fifth-ranked Greek five times on the outdoor clay court named for Rafael Nadal.

The 18-year-old Alcaraz is aiming for his third title of the season after he won at Rio de Janeiro in February and in Miami this month.

Alcaraz called it his biggest win on clay.

“Unbelievable game that I played, unbelievable atmosphere that I lived today on court. It was unbelievable everything,” the precocious talent who is drawing comparisons to a young Nadal said. “The atmosphere here, the crowd, the level that I played, the level of the match. It was incredible.”

All of the players who reached the quarterfinals had already played third-round matches earlier on Friday that had been pushed back from Thursday due to rain delays.

Before facing Alcaraz, Tsitsipas needed just over an hour to beat Grigor Dimitrov 6-1, 6-4. Alcaraz similarly eased past fellow countryman Jaume Munar 6-3, 6-3.

Tsitispas looked finished when he was trailing Alcaraz by a set and 4-1. He fought to pull level with the youngster, but Alcaraz dominated the third set.

The teen sensation won the nighttime crowd over with his wide range of winners, including several well-placed drop shots that Tsitispas failed to reach.

Alcaraz, ranked 11th, is guaranteed to move into the top 10 men’s rankings.

Alcaraz will face Alex de Minuar on Saturday after the Australian beat fourth-seeded Cameron Norrie 6-3, 5-7, 6-1.

Tsitsipas, who won Monte Carlo last weekend, was trying to reach his second straight final in Barcelona. Instead, his record against Alcaraz is now 0-3.

On the other side of the bracket, Pablo Carreno will meet Diego Schwartzman after both produced comebacks.

Carreno fended off three match points in the second set and came back from a break down in the third to overcome second-seeded Casper Ruud 4-6, 7-6 (8), 6-3, in three hours.

Schwartzman came back to beat third-seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime 3-6, 6-2, 6-3.

Debutant Stearns beats former champ Ostapenko to reach French Open 3rd round

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PARIS — French Open debutant Peyton Stearns produced the biggest win of her career by defeating former champion Jelena Ostapenko to reach the third round at Roland Garros.

Stearns, a former player at the University of Texas, only turned professional in June last year.

Ostapenko won the 2017 French Open but has since failed to advance past the 3rd round. The 17th-seeded Latvian dropped her serve five times against Stearns and hit 28 unforced errors in her 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 loss.

The 21-year-old Stearns has been climbing the WTA rankings and entered the French Open at No. 69 on the back of an encouraging clay-court campaign.

Third-seeded Jessica Pegula also advanced after Camila Giorgi retired due to injury. The American led 6-2 when her Italian rival threw in the towel.

Only hours after husband Gael Monfils won a five-set thriller, Elina Svitolina rallied past qualifier Storm Hunter 2-6, 6-3, 6-1.

In the men’s bracket, former runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas ousted Roberto Carballes Baena 6-3, 7-6 (4), 6-2. The fifth-seeded Greek was a bit slow to find his range and was made to work hard for two sets but rolled on after he won the tiebreaker.

No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz and No. 3 Novak Djokovic are on court later. Alcaraz meets Taro Daniel on Court Philippe Chatrier, where Djokovic will follow against Martin Fucsovics in the night session.

Jabeur bounces back at French Open, Ruud and Andreeva advance

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PARIS — Ons Jabeur got a do-over on Court Philippe Chatrier at the French Open and won this time.

A year after her first-round exit, the No. 7 seed Jabeur beat Lucia Bronzetti 6-4, 6-1 to help erase some bad memories and answer questions about a recent calf injury.

The Tunisian, a crowd favorite in Paris, smiled and expressed relief in not repeating last year’s mistake, when she lost to Magda Linette of Poland.

“I’m very happy to win my first match on Philippe Chatrier – because I’ve never won here,” Jabeur said on court about the clay-court tournament’s main stadium.

Now she can focus on trying to win her first major. She was runner-up at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open last year.

The 28-year-old Jabeur has also battled injuries this season. She had knee surgery after the Australian Open, and was then sidelined with a calf injury. She had stopped playing against top-ranked Iga Swiatek at the clay-court tournament in Stuttgart, Germany, in late April and then pulled out of the Madrid Open.

“It was a very difficult period for me after Stuttgart,” said Jabeur, adding that she’s beginning to find her rhythm.

Jabeur struck 27 winner’s to Bronzetti’s seven, though with 24 unforced errors she’ll have room to improve.

Mirra Andreeva had a memorable Grand Slam debut by dominating Alison Riske-Amritraj 6-2, 6-1. Andreeva’s older sister – 18-year-old Erika – was facing Emma Navarro later in the day.

Later, Swiatek gets her French Open title defense started against Cristina Bucsa, who is ranked 70th.

On the men’s side, No. 4 seed Casper Ruud beat qualifier Elias Ymer 6-4, 6-3, 6-2, to remind the higher-profile tournament favorites that he was runner-up to Rafael Nadal last year at Roland Garros.