World number one Carlos Alcaraz and in-form Russian Daniil Medvedev booked their places in the Miami Open semi-finals with convincing victories over American opponents at Hard Rock Stadium on Thursday.
Alcaraz crushed ninth-seed Taylor Fritz 6-4, 6-2, while Medvedev ended qualifier Christopher Eubanks’ impressive run with a 6-3, 7-5 victory in their quarter-final.
Alcaraz needed just 78 minutes to dismiss Fritz with the Spaniard yet again dominating with his big serve and attacking the American from the outset.
The powerful Alcaraz set the tone by breaking Fritz’s first service game and he did the same again at the start of the second set, winning the game to love.
The 19-year-old broke again to go 5-2 up and wrapped up the win without losing a point in the final game.
He will be up against Italian tenth-seed Jannik Sinner next as he seeks to complete the ‘Sunshine Double’ following his triumph over Medvedev at Indian Wells.
The 26-year-old Eubanks was playing in his first ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final after upsetting Frenchmen Adrian Mannarino and Gregoire Barrere and Croatia’s 17th-ranked Borna Coric.
The 6-foot-7 (2.01m), big-serving Eubanks showed no signs of nerves, holding his first two serves, but he was unable to take advantage of five break-points in a thrilling fourth game.
A half hour rain-break appeared to disrupt Eubanks’ momentum, however, and he was broken on his first service game after the resumption of play, going long and allowing Medvedev to take a 4-3 lead.
The Russian, who after the break noticeably stepped further into the second serve, broke again to take the first set, but Eubanks was not about to roll over against the world number five.
In the sixth game of the second set, Medvedev won a great rally at the net to go 4-2 up but Eubanks again showed his character to break back and keep his hopes alive.
– ‘Mistakes amplified’ –
Eubanks saved two match points as Medvedev looked to break him and avoid a deciding set, but then on the third match point he messed up a straightforward volley, putting it out and ending his resistance.
The American, who will move from 119th to 85th in the ATP rankings, said Medvedev had shown the ruthlessness that exists at the top level of the game.
“The mistakes are going to be amplified at this level. Little things, missed opportunities, that maybe in some tournaments I’ve played in the past or (against) some opponents don’t seem like such a big deal,” he said.
Medvedev has now won 22 of his past 23 matches, capturing titles in Rotterdam, Doha and Dubai during that run and reaching the final in Indian Wells, where he lost to world number one Carlos Alcaraz.
“I have never had such a good start to the season. A lot of matches won, tournaments won. I am really happy,” Medvedev said.
“I was disappointed at Indian Wells when my streak ended but the only thing you can do is begin a new streak and I am happy I was able to bring my form into Miami.”
Medvedev, in the semi-finals in Miami for the first time, will face fellow-Russian Karen Khachanov for a place in the final after the 14th seed beat Argentina’s Francisco Cerundolo 6-3, 6-2.
Khachanov needed just 75 minutes to take care of business against Cerundolo despite a determined start from the Argentine.
Cerundolo broke the Russian to go 3-2 up but then lost his next two service games and was never able to recover.
Khachanov now faces a familar foe in Medvedev.
“We know each other from young age. We’ve been playing against each other since we were kids… we’re good friends outside, but we’re rivals on the court,” he said.