“Alcaraz kicked our ass,” said Giles Cervara, Daniil Medvedev’s coach, recalling the Indian Wells final earlier this year. The words were spoken the day before Alcaraz once again swept the Russian off the court at Wimbledon and could also be applied to what happened this Friday in Turin, where the Murcian raised the level to defeat Medvedev (6-4 and 6- 4) and access the semifinals. Novak Djokovic awaits you there.
Against a Medvedev who had not lost a set in the entire tournament, Alcaraz played his best match of the ‘indoor’ tour to qualify for his first semifinals in the Masters Cup.
He did not notice the pressure of being at risk for qualification, knowing that a defeat against the Muscovite and a victory for Alexander Zverev later against the already eliminated Andrey Rublev would leave him out. He played very calmly and also took advantage of the fact that Medvedev, who was qualified before this match, slowed down, either because of the Spaniard’s push or because of the little need to force a clash against Djokovic. The Russian will face Jannik Sinner, the first classified in the other group, in the second semifinal.
In a duel practically for life or death, Alcaraz became strong in the tactic that gave him triumphs in Indian Wells and Wimbledon: going up to the net a lot and taking advantage of the open serve to keep the court free. He won 80% of net raises, hit 22 winners and did not concede a single break on his serve.
Despite an initial scare, as Medvedev had the first two breaking points, Alcaraz emerged from that point, with 1-2 down on the scoreboard, and shone with a break in each set.
«I am very happy, it is a very important victory for me. It’s incredible to be able to play in the semi-finals here for my first time. I have played great tennis in the last two matches. Everything I had to do I have done perfectly,” Alcaraz said at the end of the game.
A show on the net
Along the way he put on a show at the net, had a hellish exchange of 33 blows and did not allow the Russian octopus to cover the court. Several gross errors by the Muscovite, together with the precision of Alcaraz (he only committed eleven unforced errors) led to the battle being decided in one hour and twenty minutes and with a double 6-4, each player left happy.
Alcaraz will experience his third match of the year against Djokovic. The Serbian beat him in the most recent match, in the final of the Cincinnati Masters 1,000, and Alcaraz had previously won in the Wimbledon final. In general, it will be the duel that unevents a rivalry that is going 2-2.
Djokovic arrives with 20 wins in the last 21 games, but after moving to the semifinals without depending on himself and thanks to Sinner’s agonizing victory against Holger Rune. Furthermore, the physical aspect can be a burden for the Belgrade player, after three exhausting weeks between Paris and Turin. The advantage for him is that he has had one more day of rest than Alcaraz.
«It is one of the most difficult challenges I will have to face. It is a tournament that he has won six times. Novak is Novak, he is the best in the world. He has only lost six games this year, that tells you how incredible he is,” Alcaraz added.
Medvedev, for his part, leads the rivalry with Sinner, whom he has beaten six times, but with whom he has lost the two most recent duels, in the same conditions in which this semifinal will be played on Saturday. The Italian won the finals in Beijing and Vienna, both indoors.