‘It means a lot’ – Carlos Alcaraz beats Rafael Nadal to make Madrid Masters history
Teen sensation Carlos Alcaraz claimed his first ever win over “the best player in history on clay” Rafael Nadal as he simultaneously made history in Madrid to reach the semi-final’s in the Spanish capital.
Carlos Alcaraz underlined his growing reputation and his emergence as a major contender for the French Open title with a statement quarter-final triumph over Rafael Nadal at the Madrid Open.
The 19-year-old starlet battled through a mid-match ankle injury to claim a 6-2 1-6 6-3 success over the ‘King of Clay’ in two hours and 28 minutes.
It is Alcaraz’s fifth straight victory against a top-10 opponent and his first ever win in three meetings over Rafael Nadal.
The man from Murcia dominated the first set with Nadal paying the price for some unforced errors and a lack of judgement as Alcaraz broke the 21-time Grand Slam winner’s opening service game.
However, in true Nadal fashion, the 35-year-old broke straight back when Alcaraz double-faulted on Nadal’s fourth break point opportunity.
Despite the opening service game wobble, the Miami Masters champion rallied again as he took a 3-1 lead, breaking the five-time Madrid Open champion before consolidating the break.
The 19-year-old then went through the gears as he rattled off three games in a row at 3-2 up to take the first set in just 49 minutes.
The Australian Open champion, who was featuring in a record-extending 99th Masters 1000 quarter-final, knew he had to dig deep if he was to reach the last four.
Nadal began to make significant improvements on his own serve and held his opening service game as he began to put more pressure on the young Spaniard’s serve.
In the third game of the second set, Nadal managed to hold is serve as Alcaraz took a tumble trying to reach what proved to be a game-winning forehand and twisted his right ankle which led to a medical-time out.
After he returned to the court and with heavy strapping to his ankle, Alcaraz struggled to replicate his form in the first set as Nadal went on to immediately break the world number nine to love and held his serve to take a 4-1 lead.
This pattern continued in the set as Nadal secured another break of serve and a hold of his own to claim the second set 6-1.
However, the Barcelona Open champion was not to be denied a first win over the ATP veteran as Carlos Alcaraz captured a crucial break to love in the fourth game to take a decisive 3-1 lead.
The set then continued on serve as the teen sensation was able to hold his nerve and serve out a closely contested final game.
The result meant that Alcaraz was not only the first ever teenager to beat Rafael Nadal on clay but also the youngest ever semi-finalist at the Madrid Open Masters.
Discussing his historic victory, Alcaraz told reporters post-match that “it meant a lot” to beat Rafael Nadal and that the key was to never give up.
“It means a lot to me. All the hard work I put in every day has paid off. To beat Rafa – the best player in history on clay – it means a lot.
“The fall in the second set affected me a lot. When I lost the set I went to the bathroom and thought I would be able to come back to do my best and try everything. I wanted to fight until the last ball and that was the key.”
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