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Sinner and Alcaraz qualified

Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz qualified for the quarter-finals of the Masters 1000 in Madrid by beating Karen Khachanov and Jan-Lennard Struff respectively in three sets, not without difficulty.

They are the top two seeds at the Masters 1000 in Madrid, and they will both be in the quarter-finals. Jannik Sinner and Carlos Alcaraz did not have an easy task against Karen Khachanov and Jan-Lennard Struff, but they provided the essentials. Struff-Alcaraz was the poster child for last year’s final, where the German player, then 65th in the world, entered the table as a lucky loser before reaching the final, notably beating Sonego, Shelton and Tsitsipas, and losing in three sets against the Spaniard. This Tuesday, the two players met for the first time since this final, and it was again Alcaraz who won in three sets: 6-3, 6-7, 7-6 in 2h54.

With a set and a break in advance, the world No. 3 probably could have gone shorter, but Struff pushed him to his limits by giving everything on each point. Alcaraz won the first set with a break at 3-2, then broke at the start of the second set. Everything went perfectly well, to the delight of the Madrid public. But the German, winner in Munich of the first tournament of his career, at 34 years old, is a good clay court player and equalized at 4-4, before winning the set in the deciding game, with a score of 7-5 thanks to a successful ace for a few millimeters. It was therefore necessary to play a third round, and Alcaraz quickly led 4-1 then 5-2. He then got four match points at 5-3 on his serve, notably leading 40-0, but Struff saved them all and ended up breaking. It was ultimately a new tie-break which decided the two men, and the Spaniard won 7-4. It was laborious, but the defending champion will see the quarterfinals, where he will challenge Andrey Rublev, whom he beat in their only confrontation, at the Masters 2023. The Russian, after two catastrophic months, has a series of victories again. What to scare Alcaraz, winner of his last 24 matches on clay in Spain?

Sinner drops a set too

Winner of Pavel Kotov on Monday evening despite hip pain, Jannik Sinner was opposed to another Russian on Tuesday, world No. 17 Karen Khachanov, against whom he has not lost since September 2020. And the Italian won a new victory, with a score of 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 in 2h11. He didn’t seem to be bothered by his hip during this meeting. It was rather the Russian’s game which complicated his task. But his efficiency on break points allowed him to make the difference. In the first set, Khachanov started strong by getting three break points at 1-1. Sinner saved them, but the Russian, author of four of his eight aces in the match in this set, managed to take the Italian’s serve at 5-5 and pocket the set with a shutout.

However, the world No. 2 quickly regained his level of play. At 1-0 in the second set, he broke on his first opportunity, then was never worried about his serve until the end of the set , with only three points lost. In the third set, Sinner saved two break points, and it was finally he who jumped on the first opportunity, at 2-2, to take the Russian’s serve. He put it back at 5-3 and therefore won this match, not without difficulty. The 22-year-old offers his first quarter-final in Madrid. It will be against Casper Ruud or Felix Auger-Aliassime, who succeeded him on the Arantxa Sanchez court.


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