Alcaraz To Meet Tsitsipas In Barcelona QFs

#NextGenATP Spaniard is bidding to win his third tour-level title of the season

#NextGenATP Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz earned his 20th tour-level win of the season Friday at the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, overcoming countryman Jaume Munar 6-3, 6-3. The 18-year-old will next meet World No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas in a blockbuster quarter-final clash.

Last year, it took Alcaraz until the US Open in September to hit the 20-wins landmark. However, the fifth seed is a stronger competitor now, with his 71-minute victory over Munar moving him into his fourth quarter-final of a standout 2022 campaign.

Alcaraz produced a physical and powerful performance against the wild card, stepping inside the baseline to attack Munar’s second serve as he moved up the court throughout to dictate.

The teenager fired 13 winners in the first set and demonstrated great feel as he used the drop shot effectively to improve to 2-1 in his ATP Head2Head series against Munar, with all three meetings coming on clay.

“It is amazing to play here,” Alcaraz said in his on-court interview. “It is even more special when I win. I think I am playing at a good level and I love playing in front of the Spanish crowd. I am now focused on the next round. My energy levels are at 100 per cent.”

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The 2021 Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals titlist was outside the Top 100 in the ATP Rankings when he lost in the first round on his Barcelona debut last season. Playing at a career-high No. 11 this week, Alcaraz is bidding to win his third tour-level trophy of the year in front of his home support in Spain.

The 18-year-old became the youngest ATP 500 champion when he triumphed in Rio de Janeiro in February, before he captured his maiden ATP Masters 1000 title in Miami earlier this month.

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Alcaraz will next play Tsitsipas in the last eight later on Friday after the Greek dispatched former World No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov 6-1, 6-4 to extend his winning streak to seven matches.

The World No. 5, who eliminated Ilya Ivashka in his opening match, arrived in Barcelona off the back of retaining his Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters title last week.

Tsitsipas showcased his current confidence levels on Pista Jan Kodes. He targeted Dimitrov’s backhand with his heavy topspin and was ruthless in the crucial moments, converting six of his eight break point opportunities according to Infosys ATP Stats to triumph after 71 minutes.

Alcaraz will go into his meeting against Tsitsipas with a 2-0 ATP Head2Head series lead, after winning their matches at the US Open last September and at the Miami Open presented by Itau in March.

Alex de Minaur also advanced into the last eight after South African Lloyd Harris was forced to retire. The Australian was leading 6-0 in 20 minutes when the match was halted. De Minaur will next meet Cameron Norrie following the World No. 10's hard-fought 7-5, 6-7(9), 6-4 win against Hungarian Marton Fucsovics.

The Briton won a 27-minute game in the first set as he saved eight set points in the game to level at 5-5. With his three-hour, 25-minute victory, Norrie has now reached the quarter-finals in Barcelona in consecutive years.

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