Carlos Alcaraz secured his fifth ATP Tour title and second Masters 1000 crown by cruising past defending champion Alexander Zverev 6-3 6-1 at the Madrid Open.

Alcaraz became the first player to ever defeat Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in consecutive matches en route to the final in the Spanish capital, while Zverev edged out Stefanos Tsitsipas to make the showpiece.

Zverev, a two-time winner in Madrid in 2018 and 2021, boasted a 2-0 head-to-head record over Alcaraz on the ATP Tour heading into the clash on Sunday, but it was the 19-year-old who seized the early initiative.

Alcaraz struck first with a break to go 4-2 up after a dipping backhand evaded the reach of Zverev, who could not muster a response as the Spaniard served out a dominant first set.

The teenager continued in commanding fashion in the second set, delivering a deft drop shot to break Zverev, who missed two straightforward volleys and produced a double fault to fall 4-1 down.

World number three Zverev managed to save three match points, but a double fault then handed Alcaraz victory in just 62 minutes, becoming the youngest five-time tour winner since Nadal won seven titles by the same age in 2004-05.

Alcaraz leads the way for wins in the 2022 season as his 10th straight triumph – and seventh consecutive victory over top-10 ranked players – takes him to 28 for the campaign, one more than Tsitsipas.

Alcaraz is also the second-youngest player to win two ATP Masters 1000 titles, after triumphing in Miami in March, and will rise to second in the Race to Turin as he seeks his debut at the prestigious end-of-season event in November.

Aslan Karatsev staved off a match point to earn a meeting with Novak Djokovic in the second round of the Internazionali d'Italia. 

After coming from a set down to force a decider against Lloyd Harris in his opening match in Rome, Karatsev held serve when facing match point in a back-and-forth tie-break. 

The Russian had already missed a chance to break for the match but did not fail at the second attempt, completing a 3-6 6-3 7-6 (9-7) win to book a date with world number one Djokovic.

Djokovic will be eager to get back on track after suffering a defeat to Carlos Alcaraz in the semi-finals of the Madrid Open.

Filip Krajinovic's reward for a 7-6 (9-7) 7-6 (7-4) victory over Frances Tiafoe is a showdown with Andrey Rublev, while Cristian Garin will take on the in-form Alcaraz following a 6-3 6-2 success over wildcard Francesco Passaro. 

Marin Cilic was the other main-draw winner on Sunday, cruising past Matteo Arnaldi 6-1 6-4 in an hour and 20 minutes. 

Alexander Zverev avenged his Monte Carlo semi-final loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas, booking his place at the Madrid Open final with a 6-4 3-6 6-2 win on Saturday.

Zverev was dominant on serve, giving up only two break points for the match with a 73 per cent first-serve rate, while winning 40 of a total 48 points on his first serve.

The German will now aim to defend his title in Sunday's final when he faces Carlos Alcaraz, who defeated world number one Novak Djokovic earlier on Saturday.

The second seed will be seeking his sixth ATP 1000 title, with Sunday's final against the home favourite to be his 10th at that level.

"I'm just extremely happy to be in the final here," Zverev said post-match. "I know it's going to be an extremely tough match tomorrow but I hope I can manage to play my best and give myself a chance.

"It's going to be his [Alcaraz] court for the next 15 years probably. It has been Rafa's [Nadal] court for the past 15 years and it's going to be his court for the next 15 years.

"I just hope I can give him some trouble and I hope I can manage to win tomorrow."

Tsitsipas was similarly strong on his first serve but had a much lower rate at only 56 per cent for the match. Zverev simply had more looks at his opponent's second serve, winning 15 points compared to Tsitsipas' eight, but with each holding a 44 per cent success rate.

The defending champion at Caja Magica capitalised when it mattered, though, claiming the opening three games in the deciding set to set up the eventual win.

Carlos Alcaraz defeated Novak Djokovic for the first time with a battling 6-7 (5-7) 7-5 7-6 (7-5) triumph to book his place in the Madrid Open final.

World number one Djokovic breezed past Pole Hubert Hurkacz to reach the final four in Madrid for the seventh time, while Alcaraz battled past compatriot Rafael Nadal to make the semi-finals.

That made 19-year-old Alcaraz the first teenager to beat record 21-time grand slam winner Nadal on clay on the ATP Tour, and the Spaniard again raced out of the blocks as he immediately broke Djokovic.

However, the experienced Serbian returned the favour to level at 4-4, before eventually claiming the first set with a tie-break win after an hour-and-two-minute battle.

Neither relented in the second set, with both holding their first five service games before Alcaraz eventually broke the top seed – the first set Djokovic had dropped in Madrid – to send the match to a decider.

Alcaraz, buoyed on by a vociferous home crowd, had won three consecutive three-setters before the last-four meeting, and had the chance to follow suit, only for Djokovic to deliver an ace at match point.

Another tie-break was required to separate the pair, with Alcaraz eventually triumphing after three hours and 35 minutes to record his sixth straight win over top-10 ranked players.

Teenage star Alcaraz became the first player to defeat Nadal and Djokovic back-to-back, while he is the youngest player to defeat a world number one in 17 years.

Alcaraz, who has won his last nine matches, will now await the result of the other semi-final between Alexander Zverev and Stefano Tsitsipas to see who he will face in the final on Sunday in the Spanish capital.

Rafael Nadal acknowledged Carlos Alcaraz can be considered a "replacement" after losing to his teenage rival at the Madrid Open.

Alcaraz is one of the most exciting rising stars on the ATP Tour and only enhanced his growing status with a three-set defeat of the 'King of Clay' in the Spanish capital to set up a mouth-watering semi-final showdown with Novak Djokovic.

In doing so, Alcaraz became the first teenager to beat Nadal on clay and he has now won five straight matches against top-10 opponents.

Given both men hail from Spain, the comparisons are sure to be made and Nadal can see why many would see Alcaraz as the many to take up the mantle.

"It is evident that he is a replacement because one is 19 years old and the other 36, if it is from today or not I don't know, we'll see," Nadal said.

"Above all I'm happy for him, he has been better than me in several facets of the game and I need to improve, as I have been saying."

Nadal, though, says nothing changes in his determination to extend his record of 21 major titles for a male player when he attempts to win a 14th French Open title – his 13 also representing a benchmark tally.

"[There is] nothing that will not enter into logic and is accepted naturally, calmly and with the certainty that there is a path to follow for another two and a half weeks, to arrive with real options to generate opportunities for myself," he added.

"In that sense it is an easy defeat to digest, although I do not take any credit from Carlos.

"The first thing is to congratulate the rival but from there I have to do my self-criticism and understand what needs to be improved to arrive with options next week and especially in two. 

"I have to improve and it improves with games, you have to follow the path with the right determination, you have to analyse things and look forward, there is a goal ahead that overcomes anything."

Novak Djokovic labelled Carlos Alcaraz as "special" and praised the Spaniard for "breathing new life into the world of tennis".

Serbian Djokovic defeated Pole Hubert Hurkacz 6-3 6-4 to reach his seventh Madrid Open semi-final, where he will meet Alcaraz, who overcame Rafael Nadal 6-2 1-6 6-3 on Friday.

Victory made 19-year-old Alcaraz the first teenager to beat record 21-time grand slam winner Nadal on clay on the ATP Tour.

Alcaraz has won his last five matches against top-10 opponents and next faces world number one Djokovic for a place in the final in the Spanish capital.

Djokovic was quick to hail Alcaraz, who will play in his third ATP Masters 1000 semi-final on Saturday.

"There are many things that are special about him," Djokovic said in a news conference.

"In the last decades, we have had some incredible champions [as teenagers] like Michael Chang. But, nowadays, we're not used to seeing someone who is a teenager and already breaks into the top 10 and plays at such a high level.

"His growth, his improvement and his trajectory, especially in the last six months, have been incredible.

"He is a very nice guy off the court. I had the opportunity to train with him and spend a little time off the court with him here in Madrid, and I must say that on all fronts, he is great on and off the court."

Quoted by Spanish media, Djokovic said of Alcaraz: "I love watching him play, like many other players on tour. I praise his game without a doubt. It's fantastic for our sport, without a doubt.

"I think it's fantastic that we have a young player who is doing so well and who is breathing new life into the world of tennis."

Alcaraz expressed personal delight after defeating clay-court great and compatriot Nadal, battling back from an injury worry in the second set.

"It means a lot to me. All the hard work I put in every day has paid off," he said in the aftermath of his victory. "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."

Carlos Alcaraz withstood an injury scare and a fightback from Rafael Nadal to beat his countryman and set up a semi-final with Novak Djokovic at the Madrid Open.

The 19-year-old had lost his previous two encounters with Nadal, but he came out on top 6-2 1-6 6-3 in Friday's match in the Spanish capital.

It made him the first teenager to beat the record 21-time grand slam winner on clay on the ATP Tour.

Alcaraz has now won his last five matches against top-10 opponents and will next take on world number one Djokovic, who earlier defeated Hubert Hurkacz 6-3 6-4, for a place in Sunday's final.

Nadal, who had won his previous 25 matches against fellow Spaniards, struggled to handle the intensity of his opponent's game in a first set that saw him lose serve three times.

Alcaraz struck 19 winners in the opening set in total and took three games in a row to edge ahead, though the youngster lost his footing at 1-1 in the second set and required a medical time-out.

After having his ankle strapped up, Alcaraz struggled to match his levels from the first set and Nadal – competing in a record-extending 99th Masters 1000 quarter-final – went through the gears, taking 20 of the final 22 points to level the contest.

That gave Nadal momentum heading into the deciding set, yet it was Alcaraz who earned the only break of serve in the fourth game with some powerful hitting before seeing out a statement victory.

Rafael Nadal saved four match points before seeing off David Goffin 6-3 5-7 7-6 (11-9) to book his place in the Madrid Open quarter-finals.

A five-time champion in the Spanish capital, Nadal is looking to match Novak Djokovic's career record of 37 ATP Masters 1000 titles this week.

Returning to action for the first time since losing to Taylor Fritz in the Indian Wells final, after which he discovered he had a stress fracture of a rib, Nadal was taken all the way by Goffin.

Indeed, the Belgian qualifier won four straight games from 5-3 down in the second set to force a decider, but he saw four opportunities to advance to the quarter-finals go begging.

Nadal subsequently prevailed to reach his 99th Masters 1000 quarter-final, setting up a last-eight showdown with teenage compatriot Carlos Alcaraz.

Birthday boy Alcaraz, who turned 19 on Thursday, celebrated with a hard-earned 6-4 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 victory over Britain's Cameron Norrie.

Defending champion Alexander Zverev reached his fifth successive quarter-final at this event after beating Lorenzo Musetti, who retired with a thigh injury shortly after losing the opening set, at 6-3 1-0 down.

Next up for Zverev is Felix Auger-Aliassime, the Rotterdam Open champion, who is targeting a first clay-court Masters 1000 semi-final. Auger-Aliassime won 90 per cent of points on first serve in a commanding 6-1 6-2 victory over Jannik Sinner.

Stefanos Tsitsipas also produced a strong-serving display in his 6-3 6-4 triumph over Grigor Dimitrov. Last season’s French Open runner-up hit 10 aces along the way.

The fourth seed set up a showdown with Andrey Rublev, who had eight aces as he overcame Dan Evans 7-6 (9-7) 7-5.

Meanwhile, Hubert Hurkacz will play Djokovic in the last eight after hitting 16 aces in his 7-5 6-3 win over Dusan Lajovic. Djokovic's much-anticipated clash with Andy Murray was called off, with the Briton unwell, handing his Serbian rival a walkover.

Andy Murray has withdrawn from the Madrid Open through illness, having been due to play old rival Novak Djokovic on Thursday.

Murray and Djokovic first faced off on the ATP Tour in Madrid 16 years ago and had been set to clash again in the last 16 after the Briton beat Dominic Thiem followed by Denis Shapovalov at the ATP 1000 event, where the world number one eased past Gael Monfils.

However, the Madrid Open confirmed on its Twitter page on Thursday that Murray would be unable to compete "due to illness", meaning Andrey Rublev and Dan Evans are to instead open the day's play on centre court.

The Serbian, who has a 25-11 record against Murray, will now face the winner of Hubert Hurkacz and Dusan Lajovic in the quarter-final after being given a walkover.

After his win against Shapovalov, Murray was excited about the prospect of locking horns with Djokovic again, saying: "In theory I should have no chance in the match. He's obviously number one in the world [and] I'm playing with a metal hip, so I shouldn't have a chance in the match.

"We've had so many great battles over the years in some of the biggest tournaments in the world. We played in the final I think of all four grand slams, we played here in the final, and I haven't had that opportunity to play against him for a long time."

Sadly for Murray, and tennis fans, that wait will have to go on for a bit longer.

Rafael Nadal requested that his opening match at the Madrid Open does not clash with his beloved Real Madrid's Champions League semi-final against Manchester City, according to tournament director Feliciano Lopez.

Nadal, who has won the Madrid Open on five occasions, will face Serbia's Miomir Kecmanovic in the round of 32 on Wednesday, the same day Los Blancos bid to overturn a 4-3 first-leg deficit against Pep Guardiola's team at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The 21-time grand slam winner is known to be an avid supporter of Madrid and was invited to take an "honorary kick-off" before Carlo Ancelotti's team wrapped up their 35th league title with a 4-0 win over Espanyol at the weekend.

Lopez confirmed Nadal's request to Spanish radio network Cadena SER on Tuesday.

"Nadal asked us that when Madrid played the Champions League semi-finals that we not play him," Lopez said.

"He likes to play during the day, so that the ball bounces higher. There are [Spanish] tennis players who are not from Madrid. David Ferrer is not from Madrid. Tommy Robredo and Marc Lopez are from Barcelona, Sergi Bruguera is very much from Barcelona… it's very hard to be an anti-Madridista!"

Real Madrid have been eliminated from each of their previous five Champions League semi-finals when losing the first leg – however, Los Blancos have progressed from two of their last three knockout ties when losing the opening match (the 2015-16 quarter-final against Wolfsburg and this season's last-16 tie against Paris Saint-Germain).

Madrid have won the European Cup/Champions League on a record 13 occasions, also finishing as runners-up three times, and Nadal will hope to have a good view if Los Blancos seal a 17th final appearance on Wednesday.

 

Andy Murray swept aside Dominic Thiem in impressive fashion to secure his first clay-court win in five years as the Scot advanced to the second round at the Madrid Open on Monday.

The three-time grand slam champion was largely in control against his Austrian opponent, hitting nine aces and saving all three break points against his serve, while Thiem could only save one of the three he faced as Murray won 6-3 6-4.

He will now play 14th seed Denis Shapovalov after the Canadian beat Ugo Humbert 7-6 (7-1) 6-3.

The winner of that contest will have a last-16 meeting against the victor of Novak Djokovic and Gael Monfils after the latter eased into the round of 32 to set up a clash with the Serbian.

Monfils defeated wildcard Carlos Gimeno Valero 6-3 6-0 in less than an hour, while Alejandro Davidovich Fokina also advanced with a 7-5 6-3 win against Lloyd Harris.

Dusan Lajovic set up a second-round match against fifth seed Casper Ruud, who defeated Borna Coric 6-3 4-6 6-4, and ninth seed Cameron Norrie will go up against John Isner, the Briton having overcome Soonwoo Kwon 7-5 7-5.

An interesting tie awaits the much-talked about Carlos Alcaraz after Nikoloz Basilashvili beat Fabio Fognini 7-5 6-4, with the Georgian to face the number seven seeded teenager next.

Jannik Sinner, the 10th seed, scraped through a hard-fought encounter against American Tommy Paul 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-4) 6-3, and will play Alex de Minaur next after the Australian beat Pedro Martinez 7-6 (7-2) 1-6 6-3.

Diego Schwartzman will take on Grigor Dimitrov in the second round. The Argentine 13th seed beat Benoit Paire 6-2 6-7 (5-7) 6-1, while Dimitrov overcame Maxime Cressy 6-2 7-6 (7-4).

There were victories for John Isner and Dan Evans as the Madrid Open got up and running on Sunday.

Big-serving American Isner overcame Filip Krajinovic 7-6 (10-8) 6-4 and will face either Cameron Norrie or Kwon Soon-woo in the round of 32.

Isner is joined in the next round by Evans, who eased past Federico Delbonis 6-3 6-4 to set up a last-32 meeting with either Roberto Bautista Agut or Jenson Brooksby.

Fellow Briton Jack Draper also enjoyed a straight-sets victory, edging out Lorenzo Sonego 6-4 6-3 to book a clash with number six seed Andrey Rublev, who received a bye.

Monday's action will see wildcard Andy Murray face Dominic Thiem and 10th seed Jannik Sinner take on Tommy Paul.

Rafael Nadal plans to make his return from injury in his homeland at the Madrid Open next week.

Nadal has been sidelined since suffering a cracked rib during the Indian Wells Masters last month.

The 21-time grand slam champion on Tuesday revealed he has decided to make his ATP Tour comeback at the Caja Magica.

He posted on social media: "Despite preparation being difficult, I really want to play at home since the opportunities are few.

"[I want] To try to do it in the best possible way. See you in Madrid."

Taylor Fritz consigned Nadal, a five-time champion at the Madrid Open, to his first defeat of the year in the final at Indian Wells.

The Australian Open champion was visibly struggling to breath during that match after sustaining the injury during a semi-final victory over fellow Spaniard and heir apparent Carlos Alcaraz. The 35-year-old's 2022 record so far stands at 20-1.

Nadal's return is set to make his comeback just three weeks before he will be hoping to start his bid to win a 14th French Open title at Roland Garros.

Stefanos Tsitsipas defended his Monte Carlo Masters crown and lifted his eighth ATP Tour title by defeating Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in straight sets on Sunday.

Greek Tsitsipas, who defeated Andrey Rublev to triumph in Monaco last year, eased past second seed Alexander Zverev in the semi-final and repeated the trick with a 6-3 7-6 (7-3) victory over Davidovich Fokina.

The Spaniard beat Novak Djokovic and reigning Indian Wells Masters champion Taylor Fritz en route to his maiden ATP Tour final, and started well on Court Rainier III with an early break.

However, Tsitsipas found his rhythm with his ferocious forehand to break back before winning four of the next five games to take the lead.

The world number five, appearing in his fourth Masters 1000 final, then failed to serve out for the match at 5-4 up in the second set, but recovered in the tie-break to secure his first trophy of the season.

In doing so, Tsitsipas becomes the sixth player to manage consecutive Monte Carlo titles in the Open Era, while half of his eight tour-level titles have come on clay.

"I am very proud of myself," Tsitsipas said in his on-court interview. "Things weren't going well at one point, but I managed to stay composed to finish the match off.

"I am really proud with the belief I put in my game. Sometimes you doubt yourself, but it is always important to keep your head high."

Davidovich Fokina was aiming to become the first unseeded champion in Monte Carlo since Thomas Muster in 1992, and Tsitsipas acknowledged the 22-year-old made him fight to reclaim the trophy.

"He fought in moments I didn't expect him to fight," Tsitsipas said. "He can hit incredible winners out of nowhere and play unpredictably.

"But I was able to minimise that. I knew he would be a dangerous opponent but that is a great win for me. I think we will see great results from him in the future."

Stefanos Tsitsipas remains on course for a second consecutive Monte Carlo Masters title after recording a straight-sets semi-final win over Alexander Zverev.

The third seed, who defeated Andrey Rublev to clinch the title in Monaco last year, produced a scintillating performance to beat the world number three 6-4 6-2 in Saturday's last-four encounter.

Tsitsipas will face world number 46 Alejandro Davidovich Fokina in Sunday's final, and the Greek said he will need to perform at an even higher level to defeat the 22-year-old, whose incredible run continued with a three-set win over Grigor Dimitrov in the final four.

"It was good," Tstispas told Amazon Prime Video of his semi-final win. "I don't know whether the long match [his three-set quarter-final win over Diego Schwartzman on Friday] gave me some rhythm, but I was able to play good tennis today. I'm happy with the level I was able to execute, and I came up with some good ideas on the court.

"I'm looking forward to the next one, I have a difficult opponent tomorrow, so I need to be ready and to take the best out of this one and move on.

"It's going to take a little bit more [to beat Davidovich Fokina], he's in a good rhythm. I've played him before, and he's a difficult opponent, I'm going to be as ready as possible, he's definitely improved and I'm going to have to produce the best tennis I can."

Davidovich Fokina, who has made headlines by eliminating Novak Djokovic and Indian Wells Masters champion Taylor Fritz during a thrilling run in the municipality, beat Dimitrov 6-4 6-7 (2-7) 6-3 earlier on Saturday, reaching his first ATP Tour final.

The unseeded Spaniard needed two hours and 43 minutes to wrap up his semi-final contest, and revealed that a bathroom break allowed him to reset his mind and clinch a hard-fought victory after he failed to serve out the second set at 5-4 up.

"I am so happy to be in the final, it's a dream come true to try to have the title," he said after the win.

"When I was a kid, I was dreaming about this day and it's come true, I'm so happy.

"In the second set I had my chances, I was so tight. But I went to the bathroom [after the second set] and I said to myself 'I want this'. Now I am in the final, I will enjoy, I have all the power with me."

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