#NextGenATP Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz reiterated his intentions to add a second ATP Tour title to his resume after he dismissed American Marcos Giron in straight sets in the Winston-Salem Open quarter-finals on Thursday.
The 18-year-old advanced to his third tour-level semi-final and first on hard courts with a 7-6(2), 6-2 victory over the No. 65 in the FedEx ATP Rankings. The one-hour, 40-minute victory booked a showdown with Mikael Ymer, following the Swede’s 6-7(2), 6-2, 6-3 trumph over 13th seed Frances Tiafoe.
Alcaraz is the last seed standin and makes no secret of his desire to clinch the title. After falling in his first tour-level semi-final in Marbella (l. to Munar), he went all the way in Umag.
“I thought that I’m able to win the tournament in the first round. I think I have the game, I’m playing really, really well,” Alcaraz said. “I’m feeling really comfortable on court.”
The Spaniard fell to Ymer in the pair’s only prior ATP Head2Head meeting in the second round of this year’s Australian Open. But the teenager felt he had grown as a player in the time since and favoured his chances against the 22-year-old.
“I’m really happy to make my first ATP semi-final on hard court, really excited to play,” Alcaraz said. “I played him once in Australia. He beat me… I think I’m ready and I’m hoping to be able to get the win.
“Everybody knows he’s a great player, really tough but I’m ready for this battle. I played him in Australia but I’m more ready than I was in Australia,” he added in his on-court interview.
Alcaraz won 73 per cent of first-serve points and 70 per cent on second serves against Giron. He broke just once from six chances.
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Earlier, Ymer pulled off a come-from-behind victory to improve his ATP Head2Head record against Tiafoe to 2-1. Despite having the shots to hurt his opponent throughout, Tiafoe was unable to inflict any doubt on the Swede, who refused to be fazed.
The American lost the rhythm and patience he displayed in the opening set as increasingly overplayed in the final set. Ymer fended off five break points in the opening game of the third set alone.
“I feel good. It’s fun playing a tournament again after a couple of weeks off training in Stockholm,” Ymer said. “I think it was important today to stay composed. Frances is obviously very talented and can come up with great shots and good variety in his game. Staying composed and just waiting for an opening was a very important task today.”