World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz rallied past upset-minded Australian qualifier Max Purcell 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 on Friday to reach the semifinals of the Western & Southern Open in Mason, Ohio.
Alcaraz advanced to face Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz, who ousted another Australian, Alexei Popyrin, 6-1, 7-6 (8).
All three of Alcaraz’s matches so far at the Cincinnati-area event have gone three sets. Following a first-round bye, he beat Jordan Thompson of Australia 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 in the second round and took down No. 14 seed Tommy Paul 7-6 (6), 6-7 (0), 6-3 in the Round of 16.
Per the ATP Tour, Alcaraz has spent eight hours and 22 minutes on the court across his three matches this week.
Purcell, ranked No. 70 in the world, hit 10 aces with seven double faults, comparing favorably to Alcaraz’s six aces and eight double faults. Purcell also saved six of nine break points, but it wasn’t enough after he let a 4-3 lead in the third set slip away, losing his serve in the ninth game.
“It was really tough,” Alcaraz said. “It was tricky today. He served really well. I think he played well at the net, but I think I played well. I returned well on court and that was the key to getting the win today, to return very well and to focus.”
In Hurkacz’s match with Popyrin, neither player broke serve in the second set until the tiebreaker. Hurkacz zipped ahead to a 6-1 lead but Popyrin saved five straight match points before taking a 7-6 edge. Hurkacz again failed to put the match away when he moved ahead 8-7, but his seventh match point did the trick.
Hurkacz’s match ended before Alcaraz’s, but the Pole knew a meeting with the Spanish wunderkind was a possibility. They met last week at the National Bank Open in Toronto, where Alcaraz beat Hurkacz — also in three sets.
“You come to every single match with the belief that you are going to win the match,” said Hurkacz, before he was aware of his semifinal opponent. “Otherwise there is no point in showing up. It’s always just prepare as good as you can, and you have to fight.”
The other half of the draw will see No. 16 seed Alexander Zverev of Germany play Frenchman Adrian Mannarino and No. 2 seed Novak Djokovic of Serbia battle American No. 9 seed Taylor Fritz. Those quarterfinal matches were scheduled for Friday evening.
—Field Level Media
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