Rublev ends Alcaraz’s dream in the Caja Mágica

Andrey seeks his second Masters 1000 title this week

May 01, 2024

By Staff

Andrey Rublev achieved something that seemed forgotten at the Manolo Santana Stadium. Since the day of his 18th birthday, before becoming the current historic player, Carlos Alcaraz did not know defeat on the clay of the Caja Mágica. With sensational power, mishandling the ball with blows, the world No. 8 ended the great local hope and his candidacy for a third consecutive trophy in the tournament.

Fernando Vicente’s pupil signed one of the most notable victories of his career, defeating the current tournament champion 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 to reach his first semi-finals at the Mutua Madrid Open. After winning the Monte Carlo Masters 1000 last season, revealing his self-confidence on the biggest stages on clay, Rublev is knocking on the door again in a big way. The altitude of Madrid unleashes the force of his blows and this Wednesday’s example was a warning to the entire locker room.

“I think service has saved me on several occasions,” Rublev said. “The key has been to remain completely calm throughout the match. I did not say a single word, not even when I was losing. I served even better at the end of the match. At the beginning I did not succeed, but little by little I improved until I finished at a high level.”

In any case, the match was an opportunity for Alcaraz. Since a muscle injury to his right forearm stopped his season, forcing him to delay his landing on clay, the Murcian had not measured one of the 10 best players on the circuit. This Wednesday, in a true level test, the Manolo Santana Stadium placed him against world No. 8. The demands of the challenge pushed the Spaniard’s strength to the limit, surpassed in a match full of fire.

Rublev’s figure has earned the respect of the locker room based on personality. Fernando Vicente’s pupil, one of the most intense hitters on the ATP Tour, introduced Alcaraz in a very high-paced match. Aggressiveness and short points set the tone of the match, forcing the Murcian to intensify his forehand like never before in the tournament. If Alcaraz needed to test his quick thinking and stamina in his biggest shot, there were few players better suited than Andrey to prove both.

Alcaraz leaves the Mutua Madrid Open having equaled the longest winning streak in the entire history of the tournament. The Murcian, who has accumulated a balance of 15-1 since his debut in the 2021 season, reached the mark established by Rafael Nadal (14) between the 2013 and 2015 editions, consolidating himself as a great current figure on the clay of La Caja Magic.

Rublev came into the tournament carrying a four-match losing streak, but he has managed to get back on his feet. Andrey has managed to climb to the penultimate round of the tournament, delivering just one round in the Caja Mágica, where he has managed to impose direct tennis for which Alcaraz could not find the brakes.

“When you start to think about how well things are going, you also remember that for six weeks I didn’t manage to win. So it’s better not to think too much,” Rublev said about his recent past. “It’s been a moment and this happens to everyone. We all go through difficult times, the most important thing is to keep working and improving.”

After taking one of the best clay court victories of his career, Rublev keeps the door open to another unprecedented feat: becoming one of the few active tennis players with multiple ATP Masters 1000 crowns. The world No. 8 will measure in the semifinals to the Argentine Francisco Cerúndolo or the American Taylor Fritz, ensuring a vibrant outcome on the brick dust.


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