Birthday Boy Alcaraz Back In Madrid Masters Final, Lucky Loser Struff Upends Karatsev
The Carlos Alcaraz show kept rolling Friday in the semifinals as Carlos Alcaraz celebrated his 20th birthday cruising past Borna Coric 6-4, 6-3 to reach the Madrid Masters final.
“It means a lot to me, playing a final again here in Madrid,” said Alcaraz to the ATP. “It’s such a special place for me and I have great memories since I came here to play under-12. Of course last year was amazing.
“Turning 20 like that is special, so I will enjoy the final here and of course I will try to make all of Spain happy.”
Coric was under pressure right from the start saving multiple break points in the opening game. Alcaraz would save a breakpoint himself and then breakthrough at 2-all.
In the second, the two traded three straight breaks early as Alcaraz was able to pull away to reach his 13th career final, fourth already at the Masters level.
“It was a goal for me at the beginning of the match, trying to start the point playing aggressive,” said Alcaraz. “This is something I look for in every match, trying to attack on the return and of course trying to play with my forehand. I feel really comfortable playing with that. I think I hurt the opponent especially with the forehand and of course the drop shot, so this is a key and I’m trying to do it in every match.”
Alcaraz dropped the opening set of the event winning 10 straight since. He’s now 10-0 on clay this year and 28-2 overall.
Lucky loser Jan-Lennard Struff avenged a loss to Aslan Karatsev in the qualifying to top the Russian from a set down 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.
The 33-year-old Struff connected on 15 aces, tossed in six doubles, was 3 of 9 on break chances and was broken twice.
Struff led early 3-1 before Karatsev got into gear and took the opener. In his first Masters semifinal, Struff hung tough and rebounded in the second and third to reach his biggest career final.
“It is amazing,” Struff said. “I didn’t think about this. I played one final before in Munich but there was no crowd because of COVID. Now I am here and an amazing crowd. I think on Sunday it will also be a very good crowd. I am very happy to reach a final and very happy with the win.”
Struff will seek his first title Sunday against Alcaraz who he nearly beat at Wimbledon last year in five sets. But Struff did beat him at the French in 2021.
“We played an amazing match at Wimbledon last year and I was very close to beating him but he pulled off unbelievable shots in the tie-break,” Struff said. “This is going to be different. This is in Spain, in Madrid. I think he is 20-0 on Spanish clay courts, so it is going to be very tough. I have to go for it otherwise I will have no chance. I will try my best to beat him and win my first title.”
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