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Alcaraz sets up French Open match 'everybody wants to see' against Sinner

Carlos Alcaraz dominated against ninth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas (Alain JOCARD)
Carlos Alcaraz dominated against ninth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas (Alain JOCARD)

Carlos Alcaraz saw off Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets on Tuesday to set up a mouthwatering French Open semi-final clash with incoming world number one Jannik Sinner.

The reigning Wimbledon champion proved too strong for former Roland Garros runner-up Tsitsipas, powering to a 6-3, 7-6 (7/3), 6-4 victory on Court Philippe Chatrier.

"I was really calm in the moments I had to (be)," he said. "I'm really happy to play a semi-final here again at Roland Garros."

Alcaraz will be desperate to right the wrongs of last year -- when he suffered cramps in a defeat by Novak Djokovic -- in his second successive French Open semi-final.

The 21-year-old Spaniard has now won all six of his career matches against ninth-ranked Tsitsipas, including back-to-back quarter-finals in Paris after his three-set victory at the same stage last year.

"I was pretty sure I could face Carlos today and maybe do something different than any other time that I have played (him)," said Tsitsipas.

"The kid is just too good. I can only congratulate him because he's really playing amazing."

Alcaraz is bidding to become the youngest man in history to win Grand Slam tournaments on hard, grass and clay courts after his Wimbledon triumph and 2022 US Open title.

He will face Sinner Friday for the ninth time, with the pair's head-to-head record level at 4-4.

"It's a really difficult challenge, I'm not going to lie," said Alcaraz of Sinner, who will usurp Djokovic at the top of the rankings next week.

"I think right now he's the best player in the world, the player who's playing the best tennis right now."

There will be a new name on the men's trophy this year after Djokovic pulled out ahead of his quarter-final with a knee injury, while it will also be the first final without one of the 'big three' since 2004.

The winner of Alcaraz's match with Australian Open champion Sinner will be favourite for the title in the final against either Alexander Zverev, Casper Ruud or Alex de Minaur.

"Surprise for me that he withdrew from the tournament," said Alcaraz of Djokovic.

"I think not having Djokovic in the tournament, it's I'm going to say distressing for the fans not having one of the best players in the world in the tournament."

- 'Let's see who wins' -

Alcaraz won his only previous match against Sinner this year in the Indian Wells semis, while they have shared a win each in Grand Slam clashes.

"We've played great matches, high level," said Alcaraz. "I'm grateful to have him on the tour, at this level because he pushes me to be my best level... to wake up in the morning to try to get better to try to beat him.

"It's going to be a really good challenge, I'm ready for that challenge. It's the match that everybody wants to watch.

"I'm sure he'll show his best tennis, I will as well, so let's see who's going to win."

Alcaraz started quickly in front of an expectant crowd on Tuesday, racing through the first set in just half an hour as Tsitsipas struggled to contain his opponent.

An underwhelming contest looked on the cards when the third seed forged 4-1 ahead in the second, although Tsitsipas fought back to force a tie-break.

The Greek was always on the back foot, though, and Alcaraz upped his level again to take the breaker.

Tsitsipas' hopes dissipated with a double-fault to give up a break of serve in the seventh game of the third set.

Alcaraz made no mistake in closing it out, sealing victory with a drop-shot winner.

jc/mw