Carlos Alcaraz outlasts Tommy Paul in rainy Cincinnati

League: Tennis

Posted on: 18 Aug, 2023 at 03:18 AM

Credit: Cara Owsley/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz exacted some revenge on Tommy Paul with a 7-6 (6), 6-7 (0), 6-3 victory in the Round of 16 of the Western & Southern Open on Thursday afternoon in Mason, Ohio.

The top-seeded Spaniard finished off the 14th-seeded Paul -- who upset him last week in the Toronto quarterfinals -- after a 90-minute rain delay interrupted the third set at the Cincinnati-area event.

"It was a really tough match," Alcaraz said. "We were playing a really close match before the rain came. But I think I did pretty well (dealing with) the wait in the gym, warming up.

"I told everyone that I really wanted (to win) since I lost in Toronto. I came here in Cincinnati and I'm really happy with the level. I think I'm getting better and better. I'm really happy to be in the quarterfinals here."

Alcaraz trailed 6-5 in the first set, forced a tiebreaker and rallied from a 5-3 deficit to claim the set. He then had three match points in the 12th game of the second set, but Paul saved them all to force a tiebreaker himself.

The weather delay came as Alcaraz held a 4-3 lead in the third set. The two players were seen chatting while waiting out the rain, then Alcaraz finished things off when they were able to return to the court.

Paul held an 11-6 edge in aces and saved 17 of 23 break points while converting four of six opportunities to break Alcaraz's serve. But Alcaraz had 42 winners and just 19 unforced errors, compared to Paul's 30 winners and 30 unforced errors.

In the quarters, Alcaraz will face Australian qualifier Max Purcell, who took down Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 6-2.

The next two rounds might be easier for Alcaraz after the third and fourth seeds bowed out Thursday.

German 16th seed Alexander Zverev downed Russian third seed Daniil Medvedev 6-4, 5-7, 6-4, and Poland's Hubert Hurkacz upset Greek fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-4.

"I tried to be patient and you just have to take your chances, your opportunities," said Zverev, who advanced despite Medvedev winning 40 of his 48 first-service points. "You are not going to get many because we were both serving quite well. I lost three very tight matches earlier this year, so I am pleased to have finally won one today."

Hurkacz served 11 aces without a double fault and had 27 total winners against Tsitsipas. The Pole saved all three break points he faced and broke Tsitsipas' serve twice in two chances.

It ended Hurkacz's six-match losing streak against top-10 opponents.

"I'm really pleased with the way I played, with the way I tried to use the conditions, because it was really tricky," Hurkacz said. "It was super windy, and the ball was definitely moving a lot. I'm really pleased with this victory because it has been a long time without a quarterfinal in a Masters event."

Second-seeded Novak Djokovic of Serbia had no trouble advancing to the quarterfinals, needing just 68 minutes to rout France's Gael Monfils 6-3, 6-2.

Ninth seed Taylor Fritz took a 5-0 lead in his opening set -- winning all 20 points that were played -- before Serbian opponent Dusan Lajovic retired. France's Adrian Mannarino also advanced after American opponent Mackenzie McDonald retired down 6-4, 3-0.

Australian lucky loser Alexei Popyrin got past Finland's Emil Ruusuvuori 6-2, 1-6, 6-3.

--Field Level Media