PICS: Alcaraz, Tsitsipas to clash in Barcelona final
World No. 2 Carlos Alcaraz reached the final of the Barcelona Open after beating Briton Daniel Evans 6-2, 6-2 on Saturday to set up a showdown with top seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, who defeated Italy’s Lorenzo Musetti 6-4, 5-7, 6-3.
Alcaraz, who had an injury-plagued start to the season and was beaten in the semi-final of last week’s Miami Open by Jannik Sinner, was unstoppable against Evans, even as he appeared to be conserving his energy for the clay-court season.
The 19-year-old Alcaraz broke early in the first set and closed it 6-2 in 38 minutes.
He raced to 4-1 in the second and beat Evans in 80 minutes to reach the final in Barcelona for the second consecutive year.
World number five Tsitsipas had a more complicated challenge against Musetti, surrendering a break in the third game. However, he managed to fight back and clinch the first set 6-4 after winning three consecutive games.
The Greek player quickly moved to 5-3 and had the opportunity to serve for the match, but collapsed under pressure, allowing Musetti to fight back and win the second set 7-5.
Musetti came close to a break point in the first game of the decisive set, but Tsitsipas kept his composure and went on to comfortably close out the match.
Tsitsipas will try to claim his first ever win against Alcaraz, who in December became the youngest year-end No. 1 in the history of the ATP.
Alcaraz defeated Tsitsipas in the 2021 US Open and in last year’s Miami Masters and Barcelona Open.
Swiatek meets Sabalenka again in Stuttgart final after Jabeur retires
World number one Iga Swiatek moved into the Stuttgart Open final on Saturday after her opponent Ons Jabeur retired injured three games into the first set.
The Pole on Sunday will face Aryna Sabalenka in a repeat of last year’s final, following the Belarusian’s comfortable straight sets victory over Anastasia Potapova.
Tunisian Jabeur, on a seven-match winning run after recovering from injury and surgery earlier this year, looked to have hurt herself during the last point of the first game.
The world number four, fresh from her title win in Charleston earlier in the month, took a medical timeout but despite playing on with her left calf bandaged for two more games she decided to stop with Swiatek 3-0 up.
“I really tried but at that point I don’t know what happened,” a tearful Jabeur said. “I was excited to play Iga and seeing that the stadium is full. I am sorry about it.”
Australian Open winner Sabalenka needed just 58 minutes to storm into her third straight Stuttgart final with a 6-1, 6-2 demolition of Potapova.
Sabalenka, who last year lost to Swiatek, raced to a 4-0 lead, breaking her opponent twice.
World number 24 Potapova was playing catch-up throughout and was very vulnerable on her weak second serve.
She was equally helpless in the second set with Sabalenka breaking early again as she won the first eight points.
The world number two then raced back from 30-0 down with a string of big serves at 5-2 to finish off the game and reach her fourth final of the year.
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