Alcaraz Crashes, Sinner Hobbles Out Of Madrid

Second-seeded Carlos Alcaraz’s title defence and 14-match winning streak in Madrid came to an end on Wednesday as he was defeated by Andrey Rublev in the quarterfinals, while first seed Jannik Sinner withdrew due to a right hip injury.

Rublev defeated home favourite Alcaraz 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 to reach the semi-finals.

Rublev, the seventh seed, had lost his last five matches against top-three opponents and was 0-1 versus Alcaraz entering the match.

He was also on a four-match losing streak into the Madrid Open.

All of it felt like a distant memory in the quarter-finals against Alcaraz, as Rublev used his strong brand of tennis to shock the Spanish world number three and advance to the semi-finals of a seventh Masters 1000 tournament, after a full set of nine.

Alcaraz missed the clay-court tournaments in Monte Carlo and Barcelona last month due to a forearm injury, and he needed a third-set tiebreak to defeat last year’s finalist Jan-Lennard Struff in the fourth round on Tuesday.

He couldn’t fend off an inspired Rublev, and his bid to become the first player to win three consecutive titles in Madrid came to an abrupt halt.

“I think the key was that I think it was one of my first matches that I was completely calm all the match, I didn’t say one word, even if I was losing,” said Rublev, who now owns at least one victory against each of the current world’s top 10.

Alcaraz played a convincing first set, breaking serve in the fifth game en route to a 41-minute lead. But Rublev brought his A-game to take the next two sets and finished the match in just under two hours, firing 30 winners along the way.

He awaits Taylor Fritz or Francisco Cerundolo in the final four.

Alcaraz says it has been a positive week in Madrid overall but admits he is still thinking about his forearm, whether it is painful or not.

 ‘Close to 100%’

“Today probably I felt more in the forearm than yesterday’s match. Playing three hours yesterday, I knew that I’m going to feel something or I’m going to think about it even more.”

The two-time Grand Slam champion acknowledged he has to be patient with regards to his recovery, adding: “I’m going to go to Rome. I’m going to work these days to be close to 100 percent or in a good way to play Rome, but I’m going to decide these days.”

Sinner was due to face Felix Auger-Aliassime in the quarter-finals on Thursday but revealed he has been battling through a hip issue this week in the Spanish capital.

“My hip has been bothering me this week and has slowly been getting more painful. Taking the advice from the doctors we decided it’s best to not play further and make it worse,” wrote Sinner in a statement on social media.

The Italian has won 28 of his 30 matches this season, earning three trophies in the Australian Open, Rotterdam, and Miami.

Sinner is scheduled to compete at his home turf, the Italian Open in Rome, next week before preparing for the French Open, the season’s second major, which begins on May 26 in Paris.

Rybakina to face Sabalenka

Elena Rybakina battled back from 2-5 down in the deciding set and saved two match points to defeat Yulia Putintseva 4-6, 7-6 (7/4), 7-5 and advance to the WTA semi-finals.

A late-game breakdown by Putintseva, who destroyed her racquet and left it on the court after the match, helped Rybakina advance to her sixth semi-final of the season, where she will meet defending champion Aryna Sabalenka.

Rybakina leads the tour with 30 wins in 2024 and has won her last 12 deciding sets this season.

Sabalenka won her 10th successive match in Madrid, defeating 17-year-old Mirra Andreeva 6-1, 6-4.

Sabalenka cruised past Andreeva, facing zero break points and hitting 35 wins in 79 minutes.

Sabalenka is 5-3 all-time against Rybakina, but has lost three of their past four matches, most recently in the Brisbane final in January. Their first meeting on clay will be in the Madrid semi-finals.

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