Alcaraz Secures SF Berth In Milan | ATP Tour


Top seed Carlos Alcaraz became the first player to book their semi-final spot at the 2021 Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals, downing American Brandon Nakashima 4-3(4), 4-1, 4-3(4) in Milan on Wednesday.

The Spaniard backed up his straight-sets victory over Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune with an impressive attacking performance against Nakashima. Alcaraz won 88 per cent (29/33) of his first-serve points and demonstrated his determination, finding his best level in both tie-breaks to advance after 86 minutes.

“I am really happy with the level I am playing at,” Alcaraz said in his on-court interview. “I am so happy. I hope to play the semi-final at this level. The serve is very important on hard court and indoor courts. I am trying to improve the serve for my game.”

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In a high-quality match, both players struck the ball with great depth as they looked to dictate from the baseline. However, Alcaraz was the more aggressive of the two and lifted the roof off the Allianz Cloud in the second set when at 3-0, 0/15 up, he stretched every inch of his frame to stay alive in a point from deep behind the baseline, before scrambling to the net to flick the ball beyond Nakashima.

“Playing against a great player like Brandon, you play amazing points like we have played,” Alcaraz said. “We are looking for those points for the crowd as well!”

With his victory, the 18-year-old now holds a 2-0 record in Group A and moves to 1-0 in his ATPHead2Head series against Nakashima. Alcaraz – who was in regular contact with coach Juan Carlos Ferrero throughout against Nakashima due to the courtside coaching rule in place in Milan – will face Juan Manuel Cerundolo in his final round-robin match.

Earlier this season, Alcaraz clinched an ATP Challenger Tour title in Oeiras, before he won his maiden tour-level crown in Umag. The World No. 32 will be bidding to add to his growing trophy collection later this week in Milan.

Following Rune’s four-set victory against Cerundolo earlier on Wednesday, the Dane will play Nakashima for the second semi-final place in Group A. The American also overcame Cerundolo this week, meaning like Rune, he holds a 1-1 record.



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