Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur recovers from a mid-match struggle to become the first African player to win a WTA 1000 event.
Tunisia’s Ons Jabeur recovers from a mid-match struggle to become the first African player to win a WTA 1000 event.
ATP Tour star Hubert Hurkacz recently swapped the tennis court for the racetrack as he sped around the Miami Grand Prix course ahead of the upcoming Formula 1 meeting in Florida.
The Pole, who triumphed at the ATP Masters 1000 event in Miami in 2021, revealed that he is a big fan of F1 and cars and showed off his driving skills as he cruised around the circuit in a McLaren.
“I really love Formula 1,” Hurkacz said while driving. “I have always loved cars. Those are the fastest cars that are on the planet, so seeing those guys race at full speed is really exciting.
“It is going to be amazing, especially here in Miami. The drivers will really enjoy it and the fans. It seems like it is going to be quite a quick track, so hopefully there will be some overtaking.”
The Miami Grand Prix will start on Sunday, 8 May at 9:30 p.m. CET/ 3:30 p.m. ET. It is the first time a Grand Prix has taken place in Florida.
Carlos Alcaraz certainly knows what it means to be a top player. He’s further solidified his status as one of the best in today’s game by beating two of the of the greatest of all-time to reach the final at the Mutua Madrid Open.
After beating his idol Rafael Nadal on Friday and World No. 1 Novak Djokovic on Saturday, Alcaraz described both days as two of the best of his life. In his post-match press conference after his win over the Serbian, he explained what he felt was the key to those victories.
“As I have always said, you have to try to go for the match,” he began. “In those decisive moments is when you see the good players and the top players, that is where you can tell the difference between a good player and a top player, like Djokovic, Rafa, [Roger] Federer, or all the players that are ultimately there for a long time.”
Alcaraz showed no fear in a match of razor-thing margins against Djokovic, staying aggressive throughout and overcoming a lost match point before the decisive tie-break in a comeback 6-7(5), 7-5, 7-6(5) result.
“I want to make a difference on that. I want to make a difference, because in those key, decisive matches, I want to go for the match,” he said. “If I play aggressive or if I lose, I’m going to leave with the feeling that I have come for the match and I just let it go. I will try to have to improve, doing better, but at least I leave the court with the feeling, well, I tried to go for it, I was trying it, and that’s what I was thinking on the tie-break. I just want to step in and go for the match, whatever happens.”
The Spaniard, who turned 19 on Thursday, has enjoyed a meteoric rise over the last 12 months, thanks in large part to that champion’s mentality. He did his best to explain his progress from one year ago in Madrid, when he was easily dispatched by Rafael Nadal, yet to break into the Top 100 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.
“Honestly, I would say that I am more mature to manage the tough moments, the nerves, to manage everything on court. I think I am able to play long rallies,” he said.
“I’m ready to play against this kind of player.”
Already an ATP Masters 1000 champion following is title run at the Miami Open presented by Itau, Alcaraz is now one win away from a Spanish double following his Barcelona title last month.
“It’s probably one of the best days of my career, of my life, without doubts,” he said after becoming the youngest man to beat a World No. 1 since Nadal beat Roger Federer at Roland Garros in 2005. “But I don’t know what to answer really. Probably in some time or maybe tomorrow I can even tell you tomorrow it really is my best day of my life.”
He awaits the winner of Saturday’s second semi-final between Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas.
The third and final clay-court ATP Masters 1000 event kicks off Sunday at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, with Frances Tiafoe, Marin Cilic and two Italian wild cards among those in action on Day 1.
View Schedule | View Singles Draw | View Doubles Draw
American Tiafoe will be aiming to capture his maiden win in Rome in what will be his third appearance at the tournament when he faces Serbian Filip Krajinovic in the opening match on Center Court.
Tiafoe currently holds a 7-3 record on the season on clay, having advanced to his first final of the year on the surface in Estoril. Meanwhile, Krajinovic will be targeting a second win of the season on the red dirt, after advancing to the second round on home soil in Belgrade.
Tiafoe and Krajinovic are locked in at 1-1 in their ATP Head2Head series, with the Serbian winning their only previous clay meeting at Roland Garros in 2019.
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Two Italian wild cards will make their debuts in Rome, with Matteo Arnaldi facing Marin Cilic and Francesco Passaro taking on Cristian Garin.
Arnaldi is currently at a career-high No. 277 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, having reached one ATP Challenger Tour semi-final this season. The 21-year-old will face a difficult test against former World No. 3 Cilic, who reached the semi-finals in Rome in 2018.
The World No. 366 Passaro advanced to the championship match at a Challenger Tour event in San Remo last month and will take on five-time tour-level champ Garin in the second match on Center Court.
Garin is competing in the Italian capital for the third time, with his best result this season a run to the semi-finals in Houston.
South African Lloyd Harris and Aslan Karatsev round out the Day 1 action on Grand Stand Arena, with both players trying to find form. Karatsev triumphed in their only previous meeting in the Dubai final last season.
Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz shocks world number one Novak Djokovic in three sets to reach the Madrid Open final.
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic heaped praise on #NextGenATP Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz following their semi-final clash on Saturday at the Mutua Madrid Open.
The Serbian was aiming to reach a record-extending 55th ATP Masters 1000 final, but was unable to overcome the 19-year-old, who will try and win his second Masters 1000 crown on Sunday against Alexander Zverev or Stefanos Tsitsipas.
“Congrats to him. He held his nerve very well,” Djokovic said in his post-match press conference. “For somebody of his age to play so maturely and courageously is impressive. He deserved to win.
“His kick in altitude here is huge, and it was just difficult to deal with his ball, and I wasn’t feeling my return from that side. He was serving a lot of kick just to put himself in a good position.”
Despite his defeat, Djokovic enjoyed a strong week in the Spanish capital, earning straight-set wins against Gael Monfils and Hubert Hurkacz as he continued to build momentum following his run to the final in Belgrade last month.
The 34-year-old, who is a three-time champion in Madrid, felt that his performance against Alcaraz was the best he has produced this season.
“I definitely played very good tennis, I mean, the best that I have played this year,” Djokovic said. “Probably when the disappointment of losing this match passes, I will have a lot of positives to take away from this week.”
Djokovic will now turn his attention to the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, where he will compete as the top seed in Rome at the final clay-court Masters 1000 of the season.
Saturday is semi-final day at the Mutua Madrid Open, with both the men’s singles and doubles draws getting down to the business end at the ATP Masters 1000 event. The first ATP Head2Head meeting between top seed Novak Djokovic and home favourite Carlos Alcaraz is scheduled for 4 p.m. local time, with the 11th matchup between defending champion Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas set to close out the day’s play in Manolo Santana Stadium.
In the doubles action on Court Arantxa Sanchez, Miami champions Hubert Hurkacz and John Isner seek a second straight title in their partnership.
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 Novak Djokovic (SER) vs.  Carlos Alcaraz (ESP)
After beating Rafael Nadal for the first time in three tries in Friday’s quarter-finals, becoming the first teenager to defeat his countryman on clay, the 19-year-old Alcaraz has a chance to beat World No. 1 Djokovic for the first time in the semis. While Alcaraz has won back-to-back three-setters to reach this stage, extending his win streak to eight in the process following his Barcelona title, Djokovic has not dropped a set in Madrid. The Serbian moved efficiently past Gael Monfils and Hurkacz either side of a walkover against Andy Murray.
With Djokovic and Alcaraz yet to meet on the ATP Tour, we can look at their respective Balance of Power and Conversion & Steal metrics to get a sense for how the match might play out. In short, Balance of Power measures to the percentage of shots a player hits from an attacking position, while the Conversion & Steal rates quantify how often a player “converts” points from an attacking position and “steals” points from defence.
The figures below for the four semi-finalists are from this week Madrid, where Djokovic and Alcaraz practised together ahead of the tournament.
While both Djokovic and Alcaraz are above average in all three categories, Djokovic dominates in the Balance of Power, where he is seven per centage points (or 33 per cent) ahead of the field. The Serbian excels in controlling rallies by getting on the front foot, and converts on 73 per cent of points in which he gains an attacking advantage.
Alcaraz shines in the Steal metric, where he is eight percentage points (or 18.6 per cent) above Tour average. The Spaniard has proven expert at using his speed and defence to turn points around in Madrid, never more crucially than on match point against Nadal, where he capped off a mad dash with a passing shot winner.
Looking ahead to the prospect of facing a second legend in as many days, Alcaraz credited his opponent while maintaining a strong sense of self-belief.
“Of course Djokovic is one of the best players of history for me. Everything that he has achieved for tennis, it’s amazing. You just can admire him,” he said.
“I have lived tough moments. [This is] the first time that I’m going to face him, but it’s not the first time I’m going to play in front of a lot of people in a great court, in a semi-finals of a Masters 1000. So I’m going to step into the court the way I have stepped out today. Of course there are going to be nerves, but I’m going to try to manage them in the best possible way, and I’m going to try to give a good level. I know that I’m going to have opportunities, and of course the training that I have had with him this week, it helps me a little bit to know how to face him in tomorrow’s match.”
Djokovic was equally laudatory in his assessment of the Spaniard, noting that he loves to watch Alcaraz play. He was also quick to compliment the way his opponent handles himself both on and off the court, with Alcaraz climbing three places this week to No. 6 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.
“His growth, his improvement, and his journey particularly the last six months has been amazing,” he said. “I praise his game without a doubt. He’s fantastic for our sport, no doubt. I think it’s great that we have a young player who is doing so well and giving a new fresh breath to the tennis world. Seeing that and knowing that he’s a very nice guy, very humble with good values, it’s a perfect combination.”
Nadal offered his own preview of the match in his post-match presser: “Carlos can win perfectly. I don’t see any reason why he cannot win,” he previewed. “It’s true that he cannot have the downside that he had in the second set, talking about today’s match… It’s true that Carlos plays a lot with adrenaline, with momentum. When adrenaline goes up, he’s practically unstoppable, but then in some moments he commits errors, but it’s logical because he plays with a lot of risk. It’s his way of playing, and in that sense I think he has the level to be able to win [against] anyone in the world.
“We will see what happens tomorrow. I guess it depends on who plays better.”
 Alexander Zverev (GER) vs.  Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE)
Zverev and Tsitsipas will contest a rematch of their Monte Carlo semi-final, which Tsitsipas dominated on the way to his second straight title in the Principality. The Greek, who did not know his semi-final opponent at the conclusion of a three-set win over Andrey Rublev on Friday, does not necessarily expect a repeat performance in the final rounds in Madrid.
“I had a good result [in Monte Carlo] but that doesn’t really mean anything for me,” he cautioned. “Madrid has it’s own challenges. Obviously a different climate, different conditions. I’m feeling great, to be honest, and I really hope that I can continue that way, playing so aggressive and being creative on the court.”
Two-time Madrid champion Zverev felt he played his best match in recent months in a straight-sets quarter-final win over Felix Auger-Aliassime, though eight second-set double faults made the match more complicated than he would have liked. But the German recovered well to close out the dangerous Canadian and maintained a positive outlook post-match as he continues his title defence.
He had high praise for his semi-final opponent as he looked ahead to the rematch: “Rafa is on his way back and Novak is starting to gain momentum, but right now maybe he’s the best clay-court player in the world,” Zverev said of Tsitsipas.
“I think I need to play my best level to have a chance, but I’m looking forward to this match because in Monte Carlo he beat me quite easily. I hope I can change that.”
Tsitsipas has notched an ATP Tour-leading 27 match wins this season, reaching the Australian Open semi-finals and the Rotterdam final in addition to his Monte Carlo success. But he is 1-2 against Top 10 opposition, with his victory over World No. 3 Zverev his best win by the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.
The German is seeking a sixth ATP Masters 1000 title and a 10th final appearance at that level. Two of those five trophies have come in Madrid, in 2018 and 2021. Outside of the Big 4, the 25-year-old has more ATP Masters 1000 titles than any active player.
Both men’s doubles semis are scheduled for Arantxa Sanchez Stadium, with three doubles-specialist duos and a team of singles stars fighting for the Madrid title.
A rematch of the Miami Open presented by Itau final opens play, with Hurkacz and Isner seeking another victory against seventh seeds Wesley Koolhof and Neal Skupski. Hurkacz and Isner have not teamed since that Miami win, while their opponents are coming off a heartbreaking match Tie-break loss in the Barcelona final. The new-look Dutch-British duo has won three titles and reached two finals since first teaming up in January.
Fifth-seeded Colombians Juan Sebastian Cabal and Robert Farah will meet eighth seeds Jamie Murray and Michael Venus in the second semi-final.