Carlos Alcaraz chips away at Pablo Carreno Busta to gain Basel semi-finals

 Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

World No 1 Carlos Alcaraz overcame Spanish compatriot Pablo Carreno Busta 6-3, 6-4 to reach the last four at the Swiss Indoors Basel.

The 19-year-old was in control throughout the one-hour, 38-minute clash at the ATP 500 event, seemingly able to hit through his countryman at will on the indoor courts.

Alcaraz proved too strong for Carreno Busta during their explosive backhand exchanges and also showed deft touch around the net to wrap points up.

“It is difficult to play against a friend like Pablo,” Alcaraz said in his on-court interview.

“Every day we go and have dinner, lunch, together. Every week and we train together, so it is difficult to play against him. I also support him and want him to win every match. On court, there are no friends. You have to be focused and go for the match and that is what I did.”

Alcaraz, who defeated Jack Draper and Botic van de Zandschulp earlier this week, leads Carreno Busta 2-0 in their Head to head clashes on the ATP Tour, having defeated him in the Barcelona final in April to win his first ATP 500 level title.

The teenaged rankings king will next play Felix Auger-Aliassime in the semi-finals on Saturday.

“It is going to be a really tough match,” Alcaraz said looking ahead to his match against Auger-Aliassime. “He is playing really well. He has had great victories this year. I will have to be really focused. I will try to show my best tennis against him.”

Alcaraz improves to 4-2 in matches since his US Open triumph last month – which earned him his debut atop the ATP Rankings.

He is 55-11 on the season overall.

Alcaraz is looking to add to his Tour-leading five titles in 2022 which includes ATP Masters 1000 crowns in Miami and Madrid.

If he can overcome Auger-Aliassime and reach his eighth final of the season from his ninth semi-final, Alcaraz will move ahead of Stefanos Tsitsipas, who recently pulled level with the Spaniard on seven championship matches this year.

The Greek is also still in the running to reach the final in Vienna this week, though.

In the bottom half of the draw in Basel, Roberto Bautista Agut put down Swiss home hope Stan Wawrinka 7-5, 7-6(5) in two hours and 10 minutes.

The 34-year-old Spanish journeyman lost at the quarter-final stage in his three previous appearances in Basel but produced a metronomic baseline performance against Wawrinka to ensure he would not fall at the same stage this year.

Bautista Agut will next take on either red-hot Dane Holger Rune or Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech.

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