Tournament favorite and number one seed Carlos Alcaraz defeated Karen Kachanov 6-4 7-5 to become the first player to qualify for the semifinals.
The match was very tight and was defined by small details. Kachanov faced the game in a very intelligent way and put Alcaraz’s mental toughness to test. Neither of the two players gave a ball for loss, the variation of the shots in speed and height was constant and when the situation was extreme, the lob resource was a norm, something that made both players miss on more than one occasion when trying to finish the point.
In the first set Carlitos broke Kachanov’s serve at 3, which allowed him to win the set 6-4. In the second set things were different. Kachanov was able to break Alcaraz’s serve and confirm the break to go 4-1 in his favor. They each won their serves, and it was 5-2 for Kachanov, at that time it was thought that the match could be extended to three sets, but there was still a lot of match left to play.
Carlos held serve to make the set 3-5 and forced Kachanov to serve to win the set. With the pressure so close, Alcaraz came back from 15-30 to break and stay alive in the second set. Launched by the people and the optimism, he gained momentum and not only tied at 5 games, but he broke the Russian player’s serve again and was able to close the match with his serve.
It was a very tight match and if we review the statistics, of the total points Alcaraz only won 7 points more than his rival. The key points, as always, are the ones that decide these matches.
In the rest of the matches, Borna Coric calmly beat Daniel Altmaier 6-3 6-3 and Aslan Karatsev put an end to the dream of Chinese player Zhizhen Zhang 7-6 6-4 in a great match.
Zhang had a moment of oversight in the first set tiebreaker, where he was leading 3-0 and was unable to hold the lead. This led him to lose the first set and even went further, to have the first serve of the second set broken. Zhang, no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t recover. Karatsev demonstrated that solidity of his game that has taken him from the qualifiers to the semifinal.
To close the quarterfinals, another surprise happened. Jan-Lennard Struff (LL) knocked out fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 7-6 5-7 6-3. The German player relied on his formidable serve and spectacular shots to push Tsitsipas to the extreme.
Struff broke the Greek’s serve to go up 3-1 in the final set and solidly held his serve. Stefanos thus said goodbye to the tournament where everything suggested that the final of the Barcelona Open against Alcaraz would be repeated.
The semifinals set, Carlos Alcaraz will face Borna Coric and Aslan Karatsev will face Jan-Lennard Struff.
The curious facts continue, for the first time in the Madrid Open (21 years) a player who comes from the qualifiers will reach the final (Aslan Karatsev or Jan-Lennard Struff).
It’s also worth noting that Aslan Karatsev and Jan-Lennard Struff will face each other again in the tournament, since it was the Russian player who eliminated the German in the qualifying tournament.