Carlos Alcaraz  v Borna Coric  | H2H: First Meeting
Carlos Alcaraz has been unstoppable on the clay this season and the top seed is even more formidable when it comes to playing in Spain. Alcaraz has now won 19 consecutive matches in Spain and now looks to further boost his Roland Garros hopes by defending his Madrid title this week just like he did in Barcelona the week before. Standing in Alcaraz’s way is the rejuvenated Borna Coric who has continued to show why he plays his best tennis on the biggest stages as he looks to win his second Masters 1000 title in the space of eight months.
After winning the Barcelona title last week, Alcaraz has continued his dominant form by reaching the semi-finals in Madrid and extending his winning streak in Spain to 19 matches. Now Alcaraz has his sights on not only defending his Madrid title but reclaiming his world number one spot from Novak Djokovic.
Standing in Alcaraz’s way is Coric who after a difficult last few months has rediscovered his confidence on the clay courts of Madrid. After returning back to the top 50 in the world by winning Cincinnati, Coric is now looking to continue his rise up the rankings by winning his second Masters 1000 title in eight months.
Speaking after his win over Karen Khachanov, Alcaraz spoke about how happy he is to be in another semi-final.
“It was pretty tough. The first set as well, it was close,” Alcaraz told the ATP website.
“I was in trouble in the second set, a break down and [he had] two break points to have the second break. So it was really tough for me to come back and he had his chances to win the second set.
“Luckily I knew I was going to have my chances. I just tried to take my opportunities and I’m really happy to get through. I talk with myself a lot during the match, telling myself that I have to be passive and not to be in a rush in the point. Of course, a lot of things come to my mind, drop shots and a lot of [other] things, and sometimes it is tough to choose one.”
As for Coric, he spoke about conditions in Madrid and the challenge of facing Alcaraz in the last four.
“I always love to play here in Madrid. I have very, very nice memories from here and I knew I could play well,” Coric told the ATP website.
“I came here very early to prepare myself for the tournament, as it’s, I would say, a little bit different to the next tournaments. I’m just very happy to be in the semi-finals.
“He’s absolutely an unbelievable player in unbelievable shape in the moment as well. So he’s the favourite and I’m going to just go out there and I’m going to enjoy himself. I like to play here in this stadium and it’s going to be a very cool feeling for sure.”
Alcaraz will look to his athleticism and all-round variety to catch Coric off-guard as he looks to outsmart the Croatian. Meanwhile Coric will look to use his raw power to test Alcaraz’s defensive skills as he looks to use the pace of the court to his advantage.
This will be Alcaraz’s toughest test of the tournament and Coric has the capabilities to push the Spaniard all the way but the top seed should reach his second consecutive Madrid final.
Prediction: Alcaraz in three sets.
Jan-Lennard Struff [LL] v Aslan Karatsev [Q] | H2H: First Meeting
After falling short in Monte-Carlo, Jan-Lennard Struffis into a Masters 1000 semi-final in Madrid after receiving a second chance. The German has played some impressive tennis and will believe he can go all the way after edging past Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarter-finals. Standing in Struff’s way is the player he lost to in qualifying in Madrid in the form of Aslan Karatsev, who is back into the latter stages of a big tournament after falling outside of the world’s top 100 over the past year.
After a tough last year with injuries, Struff is back to playing his best tennis and is now into his first Masters 1000 semi-final. The German’s powerful all-round game mixed with impressive footwork is perfect for clay and now Struff is looking to cap off an amazing tournament by reaching the final.
Standing in his way is former Grand Slam semi-finalist Karatsev who has also returned to playing his best tennis after a tricky last year. Now the streaky qualifier is into his first Masters 1000 semi-final and is looking to take advantage of a favourable draw to go even further.
Speaking after his big win over Tsitsipas Struff explained his emotions after reaching the last four and said what he needs to learn from his defeat to Karatsev in qualifying earlier in the tournament.
“It feels amazing. It was a very, very hard battle. I knew before I needed to perform at my best,” Struff told the ATP website.
“Very, very happy that I played this well today. The crowd was amazing. It was an unbelievable atmosphere and really, really happy that I won.
“Aslan is playing amazing this week so far and he beat me pretty easily in qualies I need to say. I didn’t play the best tennis in that match, but he made me play not good I feel like.”
As for Karatsev, he has said that belief has been the key to reaching his highest level this week in Madrid.
“I am happy with my condition. Back to the top level,” Karatsev told the ATP website.
“Playing well and feeling well. From the qualifying, match by match, it has got harder, so mentally you have to be there more. Because your opponent doesn’t give you any free points so you have to be there yourself. The important thing is now recover well.
“I started the year inside the Top 100 then I dropped and lost some matches. You have to keep going and believe and I have a team behind me that is always supporting me and believing in me.”
Struff will look to continue to serve well and dominate play from his forehand, forcing Karatsev into errors. While Karatsev will look to use his returning quality to force Struff to play passively, using depth and angles.
This will be a battle between two power players with Karatsev having the psychological advantage having beaten the German in qualifying nine days ago. However Struff’s confidence after beating Tsitsipas should get him through this match as both players look to reach a maiden Masters 1000 final.
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