Madrid | Alcaraz falls and Sinner withdraws.

A new name will be etched onto the Madrid Open Trophy this coming Sunday following the shock quarter final defeat of the two-time defending champion and the withdrawal of the top seed prior to his last eight encounter.

In the beginning, I was not serving that well but little by little, after set one, I served better and better and finished really well. Andrey Rublev

The organisers of the fourth Masters series tournament of the season will certainly be disappointed that the dream final between the top two seeds in the Spanish capital will not be meeting as expected.

Jannik Sinner, the Australian Open champion, had forewarned everyone after his win over Karen Khachanov on Tuesday, that he was fighting a hip problem and the likelihood of him appearing in his quarter final match with Felix Auger Aliassime, was very much in the balance.

Following overnight treatment, Sinner has decided to withdraw, no doubt in the hope of a full recovery for the French Open which starts on May 26.

In a post on social media, the 22-year-old Italian explained that he has been advised to pull out his clash with the Canadian.

“Very sad to have to withdraw from my next match here in Madrid,” Sinner wrote on X, previously known as Twitter.

“My hip has been bothering me this week and has slowly been getting more painful.

“Taking the advice from the doctors we decided it’s best to not play further and make it worse.”

He added: “I’ll be doing some more tests in the coming days and follow the advice from the specialists on recovery. Thank you guys, for all your support.”

Andrey Rublev raises hs arms in a victory salute

(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

The decision was not entirely unexpected but the loss of their young superstar Alcaraz must have been.

Without detracting from Andrey Rublev’s performance, Alcaraz seemingly lost his nerve while the Russian was able to keep his!

Rublev arrived in Madrid following some disappointing results in Indian Wells, Miami, Monte Carlo and Barcelona and as the seventh seed, progressed relatively comfortably to reach the quarters where his run was certainly expected to be halted by the defending champion.

And for a while that looked to be the case only Rublev found the energy and will to recover from a set down to overcome the world No.3 after nearly two hours of intensive play, 4-6 6-3 6-2.

“The key was I was completely calm the whole match,” Rublev said of his performance.

“I did not say one word, even if I was losing. That was the key, and I was able to serve even better near the end.

“In the beginning, I was not serving that well but little by little, after set one, I served better and better and finished really well.”

Considering his run of below par results leading to Madrid, he added: “When you start to think of how good everything is, then for six weeks I was not winning at all. So it is better to not think at all.

“That it is just a moment and it happens to everyone. Everyone has been through these moments and the most important thing is to keep working and keep improving.”

Taylor Fritz enjoys the moment

(Photo by Mateo Villalba/Getty Images)

His semi-final opponent will be Taylor Fritz who reached the last four in Marid for the first time.

The American, seeded 12 for the event, won his 250th match on the tour with a 6-1 3-6 6-3 victory over Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo.

“I returned really well in the first set, put a lot of balls in play,” Fritz said. “To be honest he was making some mistakes, so it made me look a lot better and I was finding some balls to attack on for sure.

“The second set and third set, I feel he got a lot more solid. He was not giving me anything for free and it was really hard to hit through him and find balls to attack on. He was getting the backhand through the court.

“It was tough to look for forehands. It was really tough from the ground, but I just had to hang in the match with my serve and fight through some points even though I didn’t feel super comfortable. I took my chance when I got it.”

One more quarter final needs to be played, and that is the match between Russia’s Daniil Medvedev (3) and the Czech, Jiri Lehecka with the winner progressing to meet Auger Aliassime.

The semi-finals will be played on Friday.

Felix Auger Aliassime awaits a semi-final opponent

(Photo by Mateo Villalba/Getty Images)



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