Indian Wells | Alcaraz on cruise control

The possibility that Carlos Alcaraz could retain his Indian Wells title improved dramatically with the removal of Novak Djokovic on Sunday, but the inform Australian Open champion, Jannik Sinner, is now very much his main challenger with the No.2 spot on the world rankings, also at stake.

“But I’m happy with the win. Today I knew better what I needed to do than in Rome Carlos Alcaraz

The pair have now reached the quarter finals of the Masters event in ‘Tennis Paradise’ and are one match away from meeting in the semis.

The second seed and current world No.2 dispatched Fabian Marozsan with a convincing straight-sets win to reach the last eight and later, the world No.3 and third seed, joined him after overcoming, also in straight sets, Ben Shelton.

Alcaraz required just 78-minutes to secure his 6-3 6-3 victory over the Hungarian while Sinner was stretched in the first set before securing, after 98-minutes, his 7-6(4) 6-1 win over the American.

For the 20-year-old Spaniard, his victory was sweet as it also avenged a defeat at the Hungarian’s hands in roumd three of the Rome Masters last year.

Once the first shots were exchanged on Tuesday there was no doubt of Alcaraz’s intent as he dominated the court and went on to deliver 24 winners and only five unforced errors to continue his bid for a first title of the 2024 season.

Marozsan had to see off a break point in the opening game and managed to stay with his higher ranked opponent until the seventh game when Alcaraz ramped up the pressure by winning three points on the bounce to set up a hat-trick of break points. Marozsan clung on with two winners but couldn’t fend of the third as the second seed edged in front to go on and take the set after 41-minutes.

The pair held their serves in the opening games of the second only for Alcaraz to pull ahead in the sixth for 4-2 capturing his opponent’s serve on his third break point.

Marozsan responded strongly, setting up his first couple of break points of the match in the following game, but Alcaraz remained calm, saving them both, before sealing a big hold with an ace.

Two games later, when serving for the match, he did so with some authority, serving out to love.

“Honestly I was nervous before the match, playing against someone who beat you, let’s say easily, it was difficult for me to approach the game,” Alcaraz said in his on-court interview.

“But I’m happy with the win. Today I knew better what I needed to do than in Rome.”

Meanwhile Sinner fended off a strong challenge from the big-serving Shelton who couldn’t maintain that level of play with his challenge evaporating in the second set.

The Italian no doubt expected to face Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarter finals, but the Greek star, seeded 11, was surprisingly outplayed by the 22-year-old Lehecka who in 73-minutes, stormed through 6-2 6-4.

Tsitsipas was broken three times and failed to win a game on his opponent’s serve as the Czech impressed by landing 20 winners to reach the last eight of a Masters for the first time in his young career.

Finally to complete the quarter final line-up in the bottom half, of the draw, Alexander Zverev ended the in-form Alex de Minaur’s run 5-7 6-2 6-3.

The Australian, lasr week’s winner in Acapulco, wass broken crucially in the sixth game of the decider and then held serve for 5-2 before serving out to secure his win on his second match point, to fasce Alcaraz next.

“I don’t remember having a better match in wind than I did today. When you are down a set and a break, you have to figure it out if you are going to continue or you are going to be off the court in 20 minutes. I had to play differently from both sides, and I managed it well today”, a satisfied Zverev said.

Alexander Zverev controlled the conditions better

(Photo by Frey/TPN/Getty Images)



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