Top seed and defending champion Carlos Alcaraz of Spain beat 17th seed Borna Coric of Croatia 6-4 6-3 in the the Madrid Open semifinal on Friday, which also happened to the Spaniard’s 20th birthday. The match lasted for an hour and 40 minutes, as the Spaniard deserved to win in the end.
Carlos Alcaraz will play the winner of the second semifinal between Jan-Lennard Struff and Aslan Karatsev in the final on Sunday.
Carlos Alcaraz and Borna Coric played out an intense first set:
The first set was closely fought and lasted for a little more than an hour, with the first five games going on for 36 minutes. Coric had a great opportunity to break Alcaraz in the fourth game, with the Spaniard down 0-30 on his own serve. However, the Croatian hit a wayward return to allow Carlos Alcaraz some reprieve and the latter managed to hold in the end. The Spaniard then broke Coric in the next game and never looked back thereafter.
To his credit, Coric managed to engage Alcaraz in lengthy exchanges from the baseline. Both players went for depth in their shots to prevent the supply of short ball to each other. However, Alcaraz was quick to pounce on anything short and injected place in his shots whenever he had the opportunity to do so.
Moreover, Alcaraz also used his drop shots to great effect and kept picking up points through them. Coric also exhibited subtle touch in the net, but Alcaraz proved to be slightly superior in that respect, too.
Alcaraz went for serve-and-volley frequently:
Alcaraz opted for serve-and-volley quite a few times to deal with Coric’s high returns. Coric’s return of serve was not strong enough to stop the Spaniard from doing so. However, on one occasion in the eighth game of the second set, Alcaraz played the best volley of the match by either player to nullify Coric vs powerful return.
In addition to that, Carlos Alcaraz kept hitting his forehand with prodigious power. Coric tried to engage Alcaraz in crosscourt backhand exchanges primarily, but Alcaraz let his forehand loose whenever he had the chance. As the match progressed, Coric started committing more errors and wasted a few easy shots to gift points to his opponent.
Alcaraz broke Coric thrice in the second set, including in the final game, to notch up a memorable win on his birthday. The Spaniard will start as the favorite to defend his title on Sunday irrespective of whoever his opponent might be.
Main Photo Credit: Susan Mullane-USA TODAY Sports