With much suffering but also with a fantastic spirit of resistance, Carlos Alcaraz surpassed this Thursday the Miami quarterfinals and will play his second consecutive semifinal of a Masters 1000 on Friday after the one he lost just two weeks ago against Rafa Nadal in Indian Wells. Alcaraz, number 16 in the world at only 18 years old, went back to the Serbian Miomir Kecmanovicwhich occupies position 48 in the ATP, by 6-7(5), 6-3 and 7-6(5) in a demanding and convoluted game of two hours and 23 minutes. The Spaniard, the great sensation of this 2022 in world tennis, will play this Friday in the semifinals against the Pole Hubert Hurkacz, who is the current champion of the tournament and who beat the Russian Daniil Medvédev (number 2 in the ATP) in the quarterfinals. The match will not be played before 7:00 p.m. local time (23:00 GMT).
Alcaraz is the last Spanish representative in Miami after the abandonment of Paula Badosa in the quarterfinals, but to continue in the tournament he had to break a very hard nut to crack like Kecmanovic. The Serb initially started as a ‘victim’, but to land in the quarterfinals he had beaten rivals of great importance such as Taylor Fritz, champion this year in Indian Wells; or Felix Auger-Aliassime, ninth in the ATP ranking. Kecmanovic made clear to Alcaraz the reasons for his great stint in Miami and displayed amazing confidence and admirable reliability that kept his mistakes to a minimum (16 unforced errors to Alcaraz’s 40). The Murcian had to grit his teeth, he did not despair after losing the first set and managed to turn the match around with a new display of claw, extraordinary quality and tennis of the highest level.
Kecmanovic started the match sweeping. The Serbian achieved a ‘break’ in the first turn on the serve of a somewhat hasty Alcaraz, displayed his catalog of blows with perfect volleys and surprising lobs, and went 0-3 in just over 9 minutes of the game. The Spaniard was trying to find himself on the court, but Kecmanovic was totally robust with his right hand, moving Alcaraz from the bottom of the court and offering no doubts about his game. Alcaraz yelled at himself, as if he were trying to wake up and expel the nerves from him, until the Kecmanovic’s first moment of weakness. With 2-4 and 40-0 in his favor, Kecmanovic hesitated until reaching 40-40 and Alcaraz exhibited his best tennis so far to break his rival’s serve and equalize the set (4-4). Much more balanced both in sensations and on the scoreboard, the match seemed doomed to a ‘tie break’ with two very quarrelsome tennis players who gave it their all on every point. There Kecmanovic prevailed, who had dominated the first set and who exhibited coldness and good work in the sudden death to close the set 6-7 (5) in 53 minutes. This was the first sleeve that the Spanish had lost in this edition of Miami.
far from falling apart, Alcaraz hit the gas early in the second set and, after a beautiful lob that left Kecmanovic stunned, he managed a quick ‘break’ to put himself 3-0. Kecmanovic, with a serious expression and little given to reflecting his emotions, was no longer the rock against which Alcaraz hit his head again and again in the first set. Consolidating his obvious improvement with his forehand and also taking advantage of his opponent’s slight drop, Alcaraz won the second set 6-3 in 36 minutes to take the match to the third set.
Alcaraz sported a great backhand and seemed more aggressive on return and at the net than Kecmanovic, but both kept their respective serves at the start of the final set (3-3). Kecmanovic was still very firm and without apparent cracks, which forced Alcaraz not to make a single mistake. There was a delicate moment with the Serb subtracting to win the match and 15-30, but the Spaniard was proud and raised the public by once again tying the set (5-5). Back in sudden death, Kecmanovic had the wind in his favor with a ‘mini-break’, but Alcaraz did not give up, kept a cool head and, with a shot from the net, masterfully took out the ticket for the semifinals .