Carlos Alcaraz rallies to reach final at Western & Southern Open

League: Tennis

Posted on: 20 Aug, 2023 at 03:17 AM

Credit: Albert Cesare-USA TODAY Sports

No. 1 seed Carlos Alcaraz of Spain saved a match point in the second set before putting together a dominant performance in the third to earn a 2-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3 victory over Poland's Hubert Hurkacz on Saturday in the semifinals of the Western & Southern Open in Mason, Ohio.

After coasting through the opening set, Hurkacz had Alcaraz on the ropes when he led 5-4 in the second set. But the 20-year-old stayed alive and eventually forced a tiebreaker, though he quickly found himself in a precarious position once again.

Hurkacz raced out to a 4-1 lead, but Alcaraz buckled down, taking the next six points to reach a third set. That's where Alcaraz won 15 of 19 first-service points en route to the victory, allowing the World No. 1 to advance to the final at the Cincinnati-area event.

"It was a mental semifinal, I had to stay there," Alcaraz said. "I had a lot of break points, it was really tough. Obviously, saving a match point is never easy but with my coach, we were talking about staying positive all the time and to stay there.

"We knew I was going to have my chances and I tried to take it. Every match against (Hurkacz) is really, really tough, but I'm really, really happy that I was able to win."

Alcaraz is the youngest player to reach the final since Pete Sampras accomplished the feat in 1991.

Despite taking the loss, Hurkacz put together an impressive performance for the match, saving 10 of 11 break points, racking up 31 winners and recording 10 aces to Alcaraz's two.

All four of Alcaraz's matches have gone three sets in Cincinnati, forcing him to spend over 10 1/2 hours on the court. His match Saturday took two hours and 18 minutes.

Alcaraz will face Serbian Novak Djokovic in the final, a rematch of the Wimbledon championship match.

Djokovic made quick work of German Alexander Zverev 7-6 (5), 7-5 in a little over two hours. Djokovic, who has not lost a set all week, is vying for his third title at the event. He improved to 8-4 lifetime versus Zverev.

"I'm pleased," Djokovic said. "I think there's a few things I could've done better, but overall it's a straight-sets win against a great player in form, so I'm really happy."

--Field Level Media