(Madrid) Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, world No.2 and trophy holder, qualified for the semi-finals of the Masters 1000 in Madrid on Wednesday by beating Russian Karen Khachanov (12th) 6-4, 7-5.

For a place in the final, Alcaraz will face Friday – the day of his 20th birthday – the Croatian Borna Coric (20th) or the German Daniel Altmaier (92nd).

In the round of 16 on Tuesday, “Carlitos” had left only three games to Alexander Zverev, ex-N.2 in the world today 16th. On Wednesday afternoon, Khachanov made it much more difficult for him.

In the second set, the Russian even served for the set, 5 games to 3, but Alcaraz avoided a third set by winning this game and the next three, to win in just under two hours.

“Winning this match gives me a lot of confidence, Karen played at a very high level, he pushed me to my limits,” he commented.

Titled on ocher in Buenos Aires in February then in Barcelona ten days ago, the protege of Juan-Carlos Ferrero now has an almost perfect record on clay in 2023, with 17 victories for a single defeat (in the final of the tournament of Rio de Janeiro against Briton Cameron Norrie at the end of February).

In the absence of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, Alcaraz is a big favorite in the Spanish capital.