Alcaraz Outclasses Fritz To Return To Miami SFs

Spaniard must defend title to retain World No. 1

Facing a high-level performance from home favourite Taylor Fritz at the Miami Open presented by Itau, Carlos Alcaraz proved once again that he is all but untouchable at his best. In a Thursday night quarter-final, the World No. 1 kept the American at arm's length in an efficient 6-4, 6-2 victory to continue his quest for the Sunshine Double — a rare title sweep across Indian Wells and Miami.

"A little bit of nerves at the beginning of the match. It was new for me, playing against him," Alcaraz said of his first meeting with Fritz. "I knew that I had to play my game, the way that I was playing the previous matches, a high level for me. Of course I'm very happy with the way I started the match, with no mistakes and with a lot of power. It was a key for me to break his serve at the beginning and then [play] my game."

Needing to retain his Miami crown to remain atop the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, Alcaraz did his damage early in both sets, taking control with an instant break of serve in each. Fritz fought back well in the opener and was arguably the better player after the first game, but Alcaraz erased two break points — both in supreme style with half-volleys — to cling to his lead.

With both men eager to attack, Alcaraz again landed the first blow in set two. This time, he was more assured in closing out the set, rattling off the final three games to secure the win in one hour, 18 minutes. Both men finished with 20 winners, but Alcaraz kept his unforced error count down to 13 while Fritz committed 28 miscues. The Spaniard won three of his five break points, converting in each game in which he created a break opportunity.

Both Alcaraz and Fritz entered Thursday with 2-0 season records against Top 10 opponents. With the victory, his 10th in a row, Alcaraz improved to 18-1 overall in 2023. He is now two wins from becoming the first man since Roger Federer in 2017 to claim the trophies at Indian Wells and Miami in succession.

The Spaniard's quest for history will continue with a Friday semi-final showdown with Jannik Sinner, a rematch of their Indian Wells meeting at the same stage. The Italian will have an extra day of rest entering their sixth ATP Head2Head meeting, with his Wednesday win against Emil Ruusuvuori beating the rain that postponed the Alcaraz-Fritz matchup to Thursday.

"I've played against him in the final rounds of tournaments. That means he is playing a great level," said Alcaraz, who holds a 3-2 lead in their budding rivalry. "Of course I am sure that we are going to play for big things in the future. I can't wait to see our [improvement]."

For Fritz, the defeat puts him in jeopardy of falling out of the Top 10 one month after he reached a career-high Pepperstone ATP Ranking of No. 5. If Karen Khachanov defeats Daniil Medvedev in Friday's semis, he will move ahead of the American at World No. 10. A titlist in Delray Beach and a quarter-finalist in Indian Wells, Fritz holds a 13-3 record on home soil this season.

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