Alcaraz Rides Hot Start Into Umag SFs

  • Posted: Jul 29, 2022

Alcaraz Rides Hot Start Into Umag SFs

Spaniard improves to 7-1 in quarter-finals this season

Carlos Alcaraz continued his maiden ATP Tour title defense in style on Friday at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag, where he powered past Facundo Bagnis 6-0, 6-4 to reach his seventh semi-final of the season.

Having started the week at a career-high of No. 5 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, the 19-year-old has moved onto the heels of World No. 4 Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings. He will move past the Greek with a win against Italian qualifier Giulio Zeppieri in Saturday’s semi-finals.

“It means a lot to be able to [reach] the No. 4 ranking, to have a chance to do it,” Alcaraz said post-match. “It’s amazing for me. I think I’m playing really well. I feel really comfortable playing here, a lot of confidence right now.”

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The Spaniard overwhelmed Bagnis as he won the first eight games of the contest before the Argentine got on the board with a battling hold. The World No. 120 worked his way into the match from there, getting to 30/30 in Alcaraz’s final three service games and creating his lone break point as the Spaniard served out the match.

But after his dominant start, Alcaraz did just enough to maintain his early break advantage and close out the match in the second set. With the win, Alcaraz improved to 26-3 on clay this season and 7-1 in quarter-finals, his lone loss coming against Alexander Zverev at Roland Garros.


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After dismissing the left-handed Bagnis, he will face another lefty in Zeppieri, who earned a 7-5, 6-4 victory against Bernabe Zapata Miralles earlier on Friday. It was the first straight-sets win of the week for the #NextGenATP Italian, who won four three-setters (including three from a set down) across qualifying and main-draw play to reach the quarter-finals.

“It’s not usual to play against left-handed players, but of course it’s preparation for the next round,” Alcaraz said. “It’s going to be a really tough round. I have nightmares with Italian players, but I’m trying to show my best and I’ll try to [reach] the final,” he added, alluding to his Grand Slam defeats to Matteo Berrettini and Jannik Sinner this season.

A marquee final between Alcaraz and second seed Sinner remains on the cards, with the Italian set to face countryman Franco Agamenone in Saturday’s semi-finals. Sinner was a 6-4, 7-6(5) winner against Roberto Carballes Baena in the quarter-finals.

With Umag’s proximity to Italy, the Italian players have enjoyed great support all week in Croatia.

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