“Come on, Charly, attentive host.” This was shouted by Alcaraz when he was losing 4-2 in the first set against Miomir Kecmanovic in Miami. Until this Thursday, perhaps before, at the start against Stefanos Tsitsipas, the kid had felt far superior to all his rivals. This time he looked nervous, out of tune, outmatched by an enemy, the 22-year-old Serb, 48th, who never failed and inexorably advanced in the duel with a rictus always serious, even with a frown face. From that harangue, the Murcian was another. It was not enough for him to get ahead, but it was enough to wake up and mature the match until he came back and won 6-7 (5), 6-3 and 7-6 (5) in two hours and 23 minutes of pure spectacle. In fact, the ATP itself qualifies it as the match of the tournament. “It was all very even and the energy of the people pushed me. They were splendid and I appreciate it because that’s how I was able to win,” said Alcaraz.
In this way, with epic and making it worth paying a ticket to see him, the pearl of Spanish tennis got into the semifinals of another Masters 1,000 and consecutively. Two weeks ago he played in Indian Wells, where the great Rafa Nadal stopped him. This Friday (01:00, #Vamos) he will face another huge challenge against defending champion Hubert Hurkacz.
Alcaraz already wins in any way. In the third set he handled himself with extraordinary aplomb despite always serving with the score against, even in the decisive tiebreak. From 5-5 to the end, he exhibited a sample of madness that made the spectators vibrate at a Hard Rock Stadium where he played for the first time. Backhand down the line, dribbling early, a lethal cross, a marvelous passer with the forehand and personality to masterfully execute a drop shot just after missing another. “I have a lot of confidence in that shot. In tough moments you have to hit the best shots you have. I think it’s a good weapon for me”he explained. And a last sublime point after arriving like a gazelle at a tepid shipment from Kecmanovic near the net and putting him in full foreshortening at the back of the court far from the reach of his rival. Tremendous. Not to mention that before all those shots he had put up a drive winner at 175 km/h. In total I add 52: 35 with the right hand, 10 backhand and seven direct serve. The Balkan, a machine for putting balls inside, only committed 16 unforced errors to Carlos’ 40, but playing with much less risk. Thus he was about to have a prize. The bravery of the Spanish took him.
Number one feat.
Alcaraz, 18, is the 15th player under the age of 20 to play in the quarterfinals in Miami. Of the above, ten were number one in the world: in order of age, from least to most, Roddick, Sampras and Nadal with 18, and Edberg, Hewitt, Courier, Federer, Djokovic, Murray and Agassi, with 19. It will be the ninth adolescent to play the semifinals after Agassi (1990), Hewitt (2000), Nadal (2005), Murray (2007), Djokovic (2007), Auger-Aliassime (2019), Shapovalov (2019) and Sinner (2021). And he is the youngest who manages to play the penultimate round of the two events of the Masters winter tour Americans. That’s how great is what the El Palmar prodigy is achieving, who wants more and aspires, it can be said loudly, to lift the trophy next Sunday. He has climbed another rung in the ranking, he is 14th, one win from 12th place and two from eleventh.
Results of the Miami Masters 1,000.