Alcaraz Rallies To Beat Khachanov At Madrid Masters, Coric Next; Tsitsipas Thurs.
Carlos Alcaraz nearly dropped a set but didn’t at the Madrid Masters on Wednesday, rallying from 5-2 down in the second to defeat Karen Khachanov in straight sets 6-4, 7-5.
The powerful Khachanov played so well building up a big lead in the second but at the time of asking the Russian fell apart. Alcaraz, in his last match as a teen, won five straight games to avoid a third and keep his title defense alive.
“It was pretty tough. The first set as well, it was close,” Alcaraz told the ATP. “I was in trouble in the second set, a break down and two break points to have the second break. So it was really tough for me to come back and he had his chances to win the second set.
“Luckily I knew I was going to have my chances. I just tried to take my opportunities and I’m really happy to get through.”
The Spaniard has now won 27 of 29 matches this year and now is just two wins from another title in Spain and another in Madrid.
On his 20th birthday on Friday, Alcaraz will meet the surprise Borna Coric in the semifinals. The Croatian cruised past lucky loser Daniel Altmaier 6-3, 6-3.
Coric, into his 18th career semifinal and fourth at the Masters level, lost just three points on first serve and never faced a break point.
“I always love to play here in Madrid. I have very, very nice memories from here and I knew I could play well,” Coric said. “I came here very early to prepare myself for the tournament, as it’s, I would say, a little bit different to the next tournaments. I’m just very happy to be in the semifinals.”
Coric has never faced Alcaraz.
“He’s absolutely an unbelievable player in unbelievable shape in the moment as well,” Coric said. “So he’s the favorite and I’m going to just go out there and I’m going to enjoy himself. I like to play here in this stadium and it’s going to be a very cool feeling for sure.”
In the last two quarterfinal tomorrow, No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas locks up with lucky loser Jan-Lennard Struff. Tsitsipas leads 3-2 but they haven’t met since the Greek’s win at 2020 Vienna.
Qualifier Aslan Karatsev squares off against Zhizhen Zhang in a surprise meeting. Zhang was the victor in their only previous contest in Astana last year.
THURSDAY MADRID MASTERS SCHEDULE
MANOLO SANTANA STADIUM
Starting At: 1:00 pm
ATP Zhizhen ZHANG (CHN) vs [Q] Aslan KARATSEV
Not Before 4:00 PM
WTA Maria Sakkari (GRE)  vs Aryna Sabalenka 
Not Before 8:00 pm
ATP [LL] Jan-Lennard STRUFF (GER) vs Stefanos TSITSIPAS (GRE) 
Not Before 9:00 PM
WTA Iga Swiatek (POL)  vs Veronika Kudermetova 
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