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.

Alycia Parks reaches 1st WTA quarterfinal in Ostrava

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OSTRAVA, Czech Republic — American qualifier Alycia Parks is having quite the breakthrough tournament in Ostrava.

The 21-year-old Parks earned her first win against a top-10 ranked opponent by beating fourth-seeded Maria Sakkari 5-7, 7-5, 7-5 at the Agel Open on Thursday to reach her first WTA Tour quarterfinal.

The 144th-ranked Parks ousted former No. 1 Karolina Pliskova in the opening round – her first win against a top-20 opponent – and showed off her power by hitting 59 winners against Sakkari, compared to just nine for her opponent.

“I came out here not expecting anything, just playing my game, and it got me through the match,” Parks said.

Parks will next face former French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova, who advanced via walkover when Belinda Bencic withdrew with a left foot injury.

Caty McNally, another American qualifier who is playing doubles with Parks in Ostrava, also reached the last eight by beating wild-card entry Karolina Muchova 6-1, 3-6, 6-1. McNally is also into her first WTA quarterfinal and will face top-ranked Iga Swiatek, who advanced Wednesday.

Djokovic beats Van de Zandschulp to reach Astana quarters

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ASTANA, Kazakhstan — Add Botic van de Zandschulp to the long list of players to have been schooled by Novak Djokovic.

Djokovic eased past Van de Zandschulp 6-3, 6-1 on Thursday in his first career meeting with the 27-year-old Dutchman to reach the quarterfinals of the Astana Open.

Van de Zandschulp earned one break point in each set but couldn’t seriously threaten Djokovic, who is looking for a second straight indoor hardcourt title after winning in Tel Aviv last week.

“(In the) second set I think I started to read his serve better and just started swinging through the court more,” Djokovic said. “Botic is a quality tennis player. When he has time, he can hurt you, so I tried to take away that time from him and I’m very pleased with the way I played, particularly in the second.”

Djokovic will next face Karen Khachanov, who rallied to beat Marin Cilic 2-6, 6-3, 6-3. If the 21-time Grand Slam champion gets past that one, he could come up against fellow former No. 1 Daniil Medvedev. The second-seeded Russian beat Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland 6-3, 6-2 to move one match away from a potential rematch of last year’s U.S. Open final, when Medvedev beat Djokovic to deny his attempt at a calendar-year Grand Slam.

Medvedev will first have to beat Roberto Bautista Agut, who advanced Wednesday.