(Miami) Imperturbable, the world No.1 Carlos Alcaraz, serenely reached the quarter-finals in Miami, just like his next opponent Taylor Fritz (10th) and Jannik Sinner (11th), Elena Rybakina easily reaching the semi-finals for women, Tuesday.
A week after his triumph in Indian Wells, the 19-year-old Spaniard continues his merry way in Florida, where he is defending champion and is still in the running for the “Sunshine Double”, a double achieved the same year before him by seven players, Jim Courier, Michael Chang, Pete Sampras, Marcelo Rios, Andre Agassi, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic.
On his way, he dismissed without trembling 6-4, 6-4 the American Tommy Paul (19th). His ninth victory in a row in straight sets. “I’m happy with my performance because he’s a tough player to beat. I had to take out my best tennis. The key is that I didn’t stop attacking, I didn’t let him take the initiative,” Alcaraz told Tennis Channel.
The prodigy from Murcia has indeed made his power and precision speak (24 winning shots against 9). He was also effective on the volley (12/13, owes 92%), while mastering the applied art of the drop shot. The few times he was pushed to his limits, Alcaraz took out his shots from elsewhere, such as this short crossing backwards passing, which made Paul smile with spite.
The winner of the 2022 United States Open will then face Taylor Fritz, an easy winner 6-3, 6-4 of Holger Rune (8th).
The 25-year-old American, who remains on a title gleaned in Florida, in Delray Beach in February, was very realistic in key moments, as he erased five of the six break points that the Dane obtained from 18 years old. And he converted three of the four opportunities to rob him of the service game.
“When I had the opportunity to be aggressive, I was. I tried not to give him a lot of free points,” Fritz said, happy to join quarterbacks in Miami for the first time.
Earlier, Jannik Sinner was even more authoritarian to sweep 6-2, 6-4 Andrey Rublev (7th).
Sharper, the 21-year-old Italian, winner in Montpellier and semi-finalist 10 days ago in Indian Wells, never gave the Russian the slightest opportunity to break, finishing his match with 29 winners and only two unforced errors .
“I executed my game plan very well. I had to seize the opportunities he was going to give me and I did it”, rejoiced the finalist of the event in 2021, who will have for next opponent the Finn Emil Ruusuvuori (54th).
Stefanos Tsitsipas (3rd) was eliminated 7-6, (7/4), 6-4 by Karen Khachanov (16th), revenge, since he had beaten him in the semi-finals in Melbourne. But since his lost final at the Australian Open in January, the 24-year-old Greek has had to contend with shoulder pain that has halted his momentum.
Among the women, Elena Rybakina (7th) crushed 6-3, 6-0 the Italian Martina Trevisan (24th), to reach the last four of the event for the first time.
The 23-year-old Kazakh, who is now 12 consecutive victories, never flinched against an opponent she was meeting for the first time, showing a rise in power after a delicate start to the tournament. She had to erase a match point in the 3rd round, before knocking down the Spaniard Paula Badosa.
The 2022 Wimbledon champion and runner-up in Melbourne in January has relied in particular on her excellent serve, her 10 aces now making 201 since the start of the year, the best total on the circuit.
She will then be opposed to the American Jessica Pegula (3rd) or the Russian Anastasia Potapova (26th). Like Alcaraz, she is looking for a “Sunshine Double” (double Indian Wells / Miami) that only four players have managed in the same year – Steffi Graf twice, Kim Clijsters, Victoria Azarenka and Iga Swiatek.