London | Alcaraz in cruise mode

The world No.2, whilst still a novice as far as grass court tennis is concerned, showed he is a fast learner as he powered his way into the quarter finals of the cinch Championships in preparation for the Wimbledon starting Monday week.

I’m really happy with the level. I think I had a really solid match. I played my game, I enjoyed playing here and I’m really happy with my first quarter-final here in Queen’s Carlos Alcaraz

Having had a nervy opening three setter on his debut at Queen’s, the 20-year-old Spaniard rolled over Jiri Lehecka, 21, a big-hitting Czech, 6-2 6-3 to reach the last eight.

It was a confident performance and he showed few flaws as he brushed aside the world No.36 in 85 minutes, landing three aces, 21 winners and losing just seven points on his first serve as he broke Lehecka three times on his way through.

“I’m really happy with the level that I played today. Jiri is a great opponent, great shots,” Alcaraz told the 9,5000 spectators in the main stadium. “He has a great game on grass. I’m really happy with the level. I think I had a really solid match. I played my game, I enjoyed playing here and I’m really happy with my first quarter-final here in Queen’s.

“After this match, after this level, the expectations change,” he added. “I think I’m ready to do a good result here on grass. Playing my first quarter-final here, I’m going to enjoy it of course. It’s a really beautiful place to play, so I’m enjoying every single second here and of course I will go into the next round with a lot of confidence — and I will go for it!”

He plays the former champion Grigor Dimitrov, the 32-year-old Bulgarian currently ranked 26 but has been as high as 3 on the world listings (2017) but had to qualify for this year’s event having missed the deadline for direct entry which his ranking entitled him to.

To reach the last eight Dimitrov eased past eighth-seeded Francisco Cerundolo of Argentina 6-3 7-5 in just 87-minutes.

Meanwhile Adrian Mannarino, 34, continues to produce upsets. Last week the Frenchman took out the top-seeded Russian Daniil Medvedev in the Libema Open in Den Bosch and on Thursday, he dismissed the American third seeded Taylor Fritz from Queen’ 6-4 7-6(7) after one-hour and 37-miutes of tense play.

Currently ranked 46 in the world, it was Mannarino’s 10th success over a top-ten player.

The lefty will now face seventh-seeded Alex De Minaur of Australia who steamrolled over Argentina’s Diego Schwartzman 6-2 6-2.

The Queen’s quarter final line-up is as follows: Holger Rune (2) versus Lorenzo Musetti (6) while Cameron Norrie (5) takes on Sebastian Korda; Alcaraz (1) faces Dimitrov and De Minaur (7) hopes to stop Mannarino causing another upset.


Adrian Mannarino shakes hands with Taylor Fritz after defeating the higher ranked American

Julian Finney/Getty Images)




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