Web Stories Saturday, February 24

MELBOURNE: A turbo-charged Carlos Alcaraz powered into the Australian Open quarter-finals for the first time on Monday (Jan 22) as the second seed dismantled Serb Miomir Kecmanovic 6-4 6-4 6-0 to leave fans on Rod Laver Arena awestruck.

Alcaraz came into the match full of energy after his third-round clash with China’s Shang Juncheng was cut short due to the wild card’s injury and the 20-year-old Spaniard was too good for Kecmanovic under the lights on Rod Laver Arena.

“I did everything almost perfectly. In our Miami 2022 match it was closer. It was a good match today as well. I pushed him to the limit in every point,” said Alcaraz, who set up a clash with sixth seed Alexander Zverev.

“I could take my chances in every set … I’m feeling better and better every day. Every match that I play, I’ve been feeling more comfortable.”

Alcaraz broke in the third game of the match and held in the next one to stretch his lead to 3-1 with a fiery backhand winner – one of 18 in the opening set alone – as the 20-year-old set the tone for the match with an early display of aggression.

Kecmanovic, who came through two five-setters to set up his second meeting with Alcaraz, regrouped after dropping the first set and stayed firm until the seventh game of the next when his opponent struck with a break and then doubled his advantage.

“He played a lot of matches in five sets and a lot of tough matches, so probably he was not at 100 per cent,” said Alcaraz.

Things looked bleak for the 60th ranked Kecmanovic when he quickly found himself a double break down in the third set as an awestruck centre court crowd was unusually subdued when Alcaraz moved in for the kill.

There were huge roars when the twice Grand Slam champion sealed the victory, however, and Alcaraz was appreciative.

“It’s a pleasure to play here on Rod Laver Arena. It’s a beautiful court,” he said.

“The people here in Melbourne are so kind and I enjoy playing in front of you. Thanks to you I play my best level. I feel at home.”

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