Carlos Alcaraz picks up Cilic and is already in the Cincinnati Quarterfinals

Carlos Alcaraz picks up Cilic and is already in the Cincinnati Quarterfinals

With more skill than brilliance, Carlos Alcaraz sealed his ticket to the quarter-finals of the Cincinnati Masters 1000 this morning. The tennis player from Murcia, focused, fast and agile as usual, who lifts the audience of the Lindner Family Tennis Center into the net with gentle ball strokes, where he the King is has comfortably defeated Croatian Marin Cilic (7-6(4), 6-1), 33, world No. 17 and semi-finalist this season at Roland Garros and Queen’s.

The young tennis player from El Palmar didn’t feel the pressure that, as he himself has recognized, he owes a great deal to him in recent games. “One of the goals of this tournament is to grow under pressure and have as much fun as I did earlier this year and late last year,” he said after making a comfortable debut against Mackenzie McDonald in Ohio.

Against Cilic, an impenetrable wall of almost two meters that won the US Open back in 2014, Alcaraz, number four on the ATP circuit, managed to feel comfortable and not without complications in the first set, decided in the tie-break, he could make better decisions on most trades.

Alcaraz kept the momentum early in the second set, managing to break the Croatian’s serve at the first opportunity to end the match on the fast track. Cilic, already crushed by the inexhaustible omnipresence of the Spaniards, constant like few others, lowered his arms and with that his tennis collapsed.

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A comfortable win for an Alcaraz more restrained than the premiere, clenched fists and screaming in anger as he craved victory like food, becomes the youngest tennis player to reach the quarterfinals in Cincinnati since 2006 as Andy Murray, At the age of 19 and three months, he shook a Swiss player in the round of 16 who came to the Ohio tournament as the top seed: Roger Federer.

By beating Cilic, Alcaraz also took advantage of the Croatian in a head-to-head duel he had already crushed in Miami, where the Murcian set his Masters 1000 record this season. Now with two to his credit – Miami and Madrid – he is chasing the third that would take him to the top of national tennis at 19, as he would draw level with Carlos Moyá (three Masters 1000) and be only behind his coach Juan Carlos Ferrero (four) and Rafa Nadal (36).

To end that fate, Alcaraz, the only Spaniard in Cincinnati after Bautista’s loss to Coric, meets number 11 Briton Cameron Norrie in the quarterfinals in the world, semi-finalist at the last edition of Wimbledon and winner of Indian Wells in 2021. Hours before the Murcian’s victory, Norrie, born in South Africa although raised in New Zealand and later emancipated in Britain, smashed in the US round of 16 -American Ben Shelton (6:0, 6:2), same age as Alcaraz, but different stripes: number 229 in the ranking.

After Thursday’s intense day, the Ohio Quarterfinals break down as follows: Daniil Medvedev – Taylor Fritz, Stefanos Tsitsipas – John Isner, Cameron Norrie – Carlos Alcaraz and Felix Auger-Aliassime – Borna Coric.

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