Carlos Alcaraz continued his climb up the ranks with a brilliant win over Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Barcelona Open at a rocking Pista Rafa Nadal.
Alcaraz is viewed as the heir-apparent to Nadal’s crown in Spain, and served notice of his immense talent with wins at the Rio Open and Miami Open earlier this year - the latter a Masters 1000 event.
The 18-year-old appears comfortable on a range of surfaces, but seems particularly well suited to the European clay and showed that with his 6-4, 5-7, 6-2 win over Tsitsipas.
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Tsitsipas, the No. 1 seed, and Alcaraz traded blows from the back of the court, but were both happy to mix things up and throw in drop shots and the occasional slice.
Alcaraz got the fans on their feet when taking the opening set, which he secured via a break of serve in the ninth game.
He wrapped up the set in controversial circumstances, as Tsitsipas sent a wild forehand passing shot that missed the baseline by a distance but forced Alcaraz into taking evasive action, after which he gave the Greek a lengthy stare.
The home favourite gained a double break in the second set, only for Tsitsipas to find his stride and force a decider.
The youngster could have been forgiven for wilting, but he appears made of stern stuff and turned up the heat at the start of the third set.
He secured an immediate break of serve and broke again, after which point Tsitsipas lost his cool.
The Greek went for a bathroom break, and he incurred the wrath of the umpire for the amount of time he spent off court.
A heated exchange followed, and Tsitsipas was docked two points for his tardiness. He did not appear to be aware of it and when Alcaraz won the first two points of the following game and the official awarded the game to the Spaniard, he took exception to the decision.
The Spanish crowd lapped up the theatre, with their young charge completely dominant.
Serving for the match, two smashes from the baseline followed by a cheeky drop shot set up match point and he showed he is not just a baseline bully by serving and volleying to complete the win and book his place in the semi-finals where he will face Alex de Minaur.
The win also extends his perfect record over Tsitsipas to 3-0 and means he will break into the top 10 in the world rankings next week.
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