The pirate life is the best life, preaches Carlos Alcaraz with that break and tear tennis, permanent to the Spanish approach to the restlessness and despair of his rivals. This time it’s up to Félix Augger-Aliassime, until now an insurmountable wall, entrenched, 3-0 in his favor but finally demolished with a superb demolition exercise: double 6-4, after 2 hours. That is to say, the man from El Palmar takes out the thorn, solves a pending issue and lands full of energy in the semifinals of Indian Wells, in which he will collide this Saturday (around 11:30 p.m., Movistar Deportes) with another natural talent, of Italian stamp although of rather Nordic profile; more scientific, less virtuous, but still a wonder. His name is Jannik Sinner, executioner of the last champion in California, Taylor Fritz (6-4, 4-6 and 6-4).
The Tennis Paradise, as they call it, attends this Friday the maximum expression of Alcaraz; that is, vertigo, power, a repertoire of delicious blows and legs, more and more legs. It has cylinders left over and enjoys sliding, as if it were made of rubber. “He is everywhere,” says the ATP announcer, astonished, while the body’s gyrfalcons continue to rub their hands because the Murcian, the productwith capital letters, he is intact and he suspects another hit on the table this season, in which seen what has been seen, he, Novak Djokovic, Daniil Medvedev and who knows if Rafael Nadal -depending on what his body dictates-, are distinguishing themselves from the rest with hierarchy and military step.
The Serbian linked 15 victories until he was stopped by the Russian in Dubai; The Muscovite, summoned in the other semifinal (9:00 p.m.) with Frances Tiafoe, has chained 18 and three titles, gradually recovering the level and that intimidating ability that he lost after the slap he received last year in Australia; and barely three weeks of competition have been enough for Alcaraz (19 years old) to soar again –12 wins and a single loss, as a result of the hamstring injury he suffered against Cameron Norrie in the final in Rio– and show another time as the great threat to everyone, an unstoppable, energetic and overflowing torrent, a true blessing for the viewer.
In times of monotony, his proposal guarantees a show and dispenses with speculation. He wants to, and he goes for it all the time. He doesn’t look back or hesitate: Auger-Aliassime, target down.
“Yes, beating a great player like him, and playing the way he played… I’m really happy with my level. But now, let’s continue”, he expressed himself in the conference room, after offering a marvelous recital of mobility and volleys that ended with the unbeaten success of Auger-Aliassime, upright to the end, without giving up, a wonderful project of present and future. Despite the erosion and the corrosive offense of Alcaraz, no matter what – 12 minutes the game is delayed that gives him the first break–, the Canadian has not bowed until the final pitch. He does not lack speed or attitude, but this time the environment and circumstances were very different.
“I was very focused. I have tried to return every return, be aggressive and attack his second serves; I have tried to play from the bottom and play my game. He had not broken his serve until today… ”. Date in which he succeeds three times, one in the first and another two in part of the second, after an exchange of blows and avoiding the most tense strip, when the Canadian (22 years old and 10th in the world, a cannon) he has stirred and, proud, has counterattacked. However, he ends up giving in to the bullying. Each return of the Spaniard is loaded with intention and bad milk, and in the end, after hitting so much, the wall ends up opening. He closes out Alcaraz with 26 winners and just 16 errors, and with 81% of points held with first serves; 69% effectiveness in the network, where he was seen 16 times.
The next classic
“He enjoyed it,” he says. “The most important thing is to have a good right hand,” she qualifies when asked about the drop shots. “This is how you pull the opponent back, and at that moment is when you can do them. You have to make him defend himself and, then yes, you throw it at him ”, continues the number two, a couple of victories away from recovering the one that he lost on January 30 and back in the semifinals. Last year Nadal surrendered to him, absent, and now he faces another dance with Sinner, the icy redhead who rallies with the poise of veterans, one step away from returning to the top-10, territory you already know. “Even if I don’t smile, I have fun,” says the Italian, who grew up in the mountains of South Tyrol.
This Friday he reduces Fritz –with a production of 80% with the first serves– and heads towards Alcaraz. In particular between the two, tables: 2-2. The latest reference is the great match they played in the quarterfinals of the US Open, where the Spaniard won, and going back chronologically they met in the final of Umag (Sinner), the Wimbledon round of 16 (also the Italian) and two years ago in the second round of Paris-Bercy, superior that day to the Spanish. Sinner, 21 years old and 13th in the ATP, is another of the great talents of the new generation and is called to star in a beautiful rivalry with the prodigy from El Palmar, again on the boil.
RYBAKINA, TOUGH TEST FOR SWIATEK
AC | Madrid
This Friday the women’s semifinals will be played, in which four of the best players today come together. The Polish Iga Swiatek, current governor of the WTA, beat Sorana Cirstea with authority (6-2 and 6-3) and will face a test of maximum demand (not before 2.00, Teledeporte and Dazn) against the Kazakh Elena Rybakina ( 7-6 (4) 2-6 and 6-4 to Karolina Muchova).
Previously, not before 11:00 p.m., Aryna Sabalenka and Maria Sakkari will face each other. The Belarusian, who defeated Coco Gauff in the quarterfinals on Wednesday, won the Australian Open in January and appears as a favorite against the Greek, one of the most regular competitors on the circuit.
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