Match Report

Hurkacz Downs Popyrin For Cincinnati SF Spot

Pole to face top seed Alcaraz in last four
August 18, 2023
Peter Staples/ATP Tour
Hubert Hurkacz converts two of his six break points to beat Alexei Popyrin on Friday in Cincinnati. By ATP Staff

Hubert Hurkacz defied a remarkable late charge from Alexei Popyrin on Friday at the Western & Southern Open to complete a 6-1, 7-6(8) quarter-final triumph in Cincinnati.

The World No. 20 Hurkacz held five match points at 6/1 in the second-set tie-break before Popyrin reeled off seven straight points to bring up a set point of his own on centre court at the ATP Masters 1000 event. Hurkacz was able to overcome his late wobble, however, winning four of the next five points to complete a 77-minute victory and book a semi-final clash with top seed Carlos Alcaraz.

Hurkacz had expertly capitalised on a nervous start by lucky loser Popyrin, who was competing in his first Masters 1000 quarter-final. Despite finding his feet after Hurkacz had raced to the opening set, Popyrin was unable to make an impact in return games. The Pole did not drop a break point and lost just nine points behind serve overall to extend his Lexus ATP Head2Head lead against Popyrin to 3-0.

“I’m really happy, especially with the way I played the first set,” said Hurkacz. “I was returning really well. Alexei raised his level and was serving really good throughout that second set, I just got to the tie-breaker. I got off to a good start, and then Alexei played some good points, but fortunately I battled through for that one.”

Now into his fifth Masters 1000 semi-final, the 2021 Miami champion Hurkacz is up two spots to 16th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin as a result of his run so far in Ohio. The Pole could reignite his hopes of qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals by further prolonging his week in Cincinnati with victory against World No. 1 Alcaraz, who defeated qualifier Max Purcell 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 later on Friday.

“You come to every single match with the belief that you are going to win the match,” said Hurkacz, before he was aware of his semi-final opponent. “Otherwise there is no point in showing up. It’s always just prepare as good as you can, and you have to fight.”

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