Relentless Alcaraz Pushes Past Cilic |  ATP Tour

Relentless Alcaraz Pushes Past Cilic | ATP Tour

Carlos Alcaraz’s rapid rise continued with pace on Monday at the Miami Open presented by Itau.

The #NextGenATP Spaniard dispatched World No. 23 Marin Cilic 6-4, 6-4 in an intense and heavy-hitting display to reach the fourth round in Florida for the first time.

“I started the game well. It was important to get confidence at the beginning of the match,” Alcaraz said in his on-court interview. “[Starting well] was the key in the first set and it was important to be up in the match.”

Alcaraz was No. 132 in the ATP Rankings when he lost on debut against Finn Emil Ruusuvuori in the first round at the ATP Masters 1000 event last season. Now the 18-year-old is at a career-high No. 16 and is competing in Miami with genuine title aspirations following his impressive start to the year.

The 14th seed, who eliminated Marton Fucsovics in his opening match in Miami, has frequently made history in 2022 with his dynamic performances.

Alcaraz became the youngest ATP 500 champion when he triumphed in Rio de Janeiro, before he advanced to the semi-finals in Indian Wells. His impressive run in the California desert meant he became the second-youngest semi-finalist in tournament history behind only Andre Agassi, who was 17 when he achieved the feat in 1988.

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Pumped up and zoned in from the start, Alcaraz looked comfortable against Cilic on Grandstand as he leveled their ATP Head2Head series at 1-1, gaining revenge from his defeat in Estoril last season.

“I think the crowd liked the way I played, with drop shots and playing hard,” Alcaraz said. “They love that style and I think here in Miami a lot of people speak Spanish.”

The Spaniard showcased great agility and pace to track down forehand bullets from Cilic, while he used his own power and depth to pin the 33-year-old deep behind the baseline. Alcaraz saved the one break point he faced and hit 16 winners, eventually advancing after one hour and 35 minutes.

The 2021 Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals champion will next play third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas or Australian Alex de Minaur. Alcaraz holds a 1-0 ATP Head2Head series lead over World No. 5 Tsitsipas, having upset the Greek at the US Open in 2021.

Cilic was making his 13th appearance in Miami, with his best result coming in 2013 when he reached the quarter-finals.

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