Carlos Alcaraz and Tommy Paul delivered yet another treat at the Cincinnati Open and this time it was the world No 1 who emerged on top.
Just last week the duo were involved in an entertaining three-setter at the Canadian Open and on that occasion it was the American who came away with the victory, but Alcaraz turned the tables in Cincinnati.
They were back at it in the third round in Ohio, Mason, on Thursday and Alcaraz was the last man standing as he came through with a 7-6 (8-6), 6-7 (0-7), 6-3 in three hours and 10m minutes.
“It was a very difficult match, very close before the rain,” the two-time Grand Slam winner said.
“I think I’ve done very well, I’ve taken the revenge I wanted since I lost in Toronto. I’m happy with the level, I think I’m improving and I’m happy to be in the quarter-finals.”
The 12th game of the second set was an intense one as it had nine deuces with Paul saving three match points to take it to a tie-breaker, which he won as the match went to a decider.
But as with any Alcaraz match, there were some ridiculous rallies, including one in that extended 12th game as the Paul took a crazy bounce.
The rain the Spaniard was talking about came down the third set as play was suspended for roughly 90 minutes with the score 4-3 (15-15) with Alcaraz serving to make it 5-3. Once they did return, the world No 1 wrapped up the match to set up a quarter-final clash with qualifier Max Purcell.
Australian Purcell followed up his stunning win over fifth seed Casper Ruud with a 6-4, 6-2 win over wildcard Stan Wawrinka.
“He’s playing great. He defeated a lot of great players, top players,” Alcaraz said.
“I have to play my best against him. I don’t know him really well, so I have to watch some videos from his last matches and be ready for the quarter-final. It’s not going to be easy.”
The winner of the Alcaraz-Purcell will face either Hubert Hurkacz or Alexei Popyrin in the semi-final. Hurkacz defeated fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-4 while Popyrin secured a 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 win over Emil Ruusuvuori.
Alcaraz needs to reach at least the final to keep the No 1 spot in the ATP Ranking ahead of the US Open, although he could still stay there should Novak Djokovic lose early at the ATP Masters 1000 event.
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