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Mutua Madrid Open: Carlos Alcaraz’s hopes of hat-trick of titles in Spanish capital ended by Andrey Rublev


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Carlos Alcaraz saw his hopes of a hat-trick of titles at the Madrid Open ended in stunning fashion by Andrey Rublev on Wednesday.

Rublev earned the biggest win of his career on clay by defeating Alcaraz 4-6 6-3 6-2 under the roof of Manolo Santana Stadium.

The seventh seed struck 30 winners and frequently stepped inside the baseline to rush the Spaniard, who was below-par following his fourth-round battle against Jan-Lennard Struff.

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Rublev was furious with the umpire over challenge procedure after wiping away the ball mark before HawkEye had given its verdict

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Rublev says he was most impressed with being able to stay calm during his win over Alcaraz

“I can’t believe that I was able to stay calm throughout the match. I didn’t say a word and even I’m impressed by that,” 10-time Grand Slam quarter-finalist Rublev told Sky Sports Tennis.

“I want to believe that I have been working on this because if not then I’m stupid. After so many years, to not improve on this would mean that something is wrong with my head. I just thought to myself to keep trying, keep fighting, keep believing in yourself.

“I just wanted to go for it and thought maybe I will have more break points and in the end, I was able to return well and break him. It gave me confidence and go for it and little by little I was able to do it.

“The atmosphere was crazy and it was nice to play here.”

Backed by a partisan home crowd, which included former Spain international footballers David Villa and Raul and Real Madrid star Luka Modric, the 20-year-old began well.

But underdog Rublev swung the momentum by breaking serve in the second game of the second set before dominating the remainder of the contest to set up a semi-final with either American Taylor Fritz or Argentinian Francisco Cerundolo.

Alcaraz, who missed clay-court events in Monte-Carlo and Barcelona due to a right arm injury, follows fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal, a four-time winner of the competition, out of the tournament in a disappointing 24 hours for home fans.

‘A stunning win for Rublev’

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Colin Fleming believes Rublev’s tennis can be untouchable, but he can also be his own worst enemy at times

“I thought Carlos Alcaraz would take it up a level but credit to Rublev, he played full power tennis,” former player Colin Fleming said.

“I’m not sure everything is quite right with Alcaraz yet but I don’t want to take anything away from Rublev, that was an incredible win.

“It can take a match, a set or a shot to start feeling it again. It’s easy to panic and think you won’t win a match but one moment can turn things around.

“Credit to Rublev and his team, they’ve kept believing and have turned things around.”

‘Biggest win of Rublev’s career’

“A match like today you have to hand it to Rublev. I said at the start he would have to play the match of his life. It’s the biggest win of his career, especially with the crowd all rooting for his opponent,” said Great Britain’s Billie Jean King Cup captain, Anne Keothavong.

“I’d love to know how he got back into the zone and managed to block out the noise.

“From the second set onwards he got better and better and I’m sure he’ll be absolutely chuffed about that.

“Rublev’s head never dropped. He was striking the ball well, reading Alcaraz well and it may not have been the best for him but I’m sure he’s got his eyes on he French Open and hopefully he’ll peak for that.”

Tale of the Tape

Andrey Rublev vs Carlos Alcaraz: Match Stats
Andrey Rublev vs Carlos Alcaraz: Match Stats

Rybakina survives Putintseva scare to reach semi-finals

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Highlights of Yulia Putintseva against Elena Rybakina from the Madrid Open quarter-finals

Fourth seed Elena Rybakina rallied from a set down to beat fellow Kazakhstani Yulia Putintseva 4-6 7-6 (7-4) 7-5 in a two-hour and 48-minute battle.

The 50th-ranked Putintseva looked on course to cause an upset as she put on a near-flawless display to take the opening set in 45 minutes, but Rybakina managed to regain her composure and saved two match points at 5-2 down in the final set.

“It was really tough. I knew it wouldn’t be easy. I was hoping I’d start better… it wasn’t easy always coming back,” Rybakina said.

“At 2-5, I already left the emotions and frustration and just kept playing. The momentum shifted. Yulia started to get a bit more angry and some mistakes helped me. I just kept on playing.

“I’m really happy.”

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Putintseva was booed off the court after smashing her racket in frustration when losing to Rybakina

Up next for Rybakina is world No 2 Aryna Sabalenka or 17-year-old Russian sensation Mirra Andreeva, who face off later.

Sinner withdraws due to hip injury

Jannik Sinner pulled out of the tournament with a right-hip injury meaning he won’t take to the court on Thursday to play his quarter-final match against Felix Auger-Aliassime.

The Australian Open champion took to social media to make a statement, which read: “Very sad to have to withdraw from my next match here in Madrid.

“My hip has been bothering me this week and has slowly been getting more painful. Taking the advice from the doctors we decided it’s best to not play further and make it worse.”

Canadian Auger-Aliassime receives an automatic bye to the semi-finals.

What’s coming up on Sky Sports Tennis?

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Find out all the ways to watch tennis on Sky Sports, including the US Open, ATP and WTA tours

In the run-up to the second Grand Slam of 2024 – the French Open at Roland Garros from May 26 – you can watch all of the biggest tennis stars in action live on Sky Sports as they compete across the clay-court season.

  • Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome (ATP and WTA Masters 1000) – May 7-19
  • Geneva Open (ATP 250) – May 20-26
  • Lyon Open (ATP 250) – May 20-26
  • Internationaux de Strasbourg (WTA 500 with Emma Raducanu in action) – May 20-26
  • Morocco Open (WTA 250) – May 20-26

How to watch play on Sky Sports Tennis

The stars of tennis will appear on the new Sky Sports Tennis channel every day
The stars of tennis will appear on the new Sky Sports Tennis channel every day

Sky Sports has confirmed a new home for tennis in the UK and Ireland, with Sky Sports Tennis on Sky and NOW, making tennis content available all day, every day for fans.

Sky Sports will broadcast more live tennis than anywhere else, bringing over 4,000 matches from more than 80 tournaments a year on the ATP and WTA Tours, as well as full coverage of the US Open, all exclusively live.

Non-Sky subscribers can stream live matches with a NOW Sports Day and Month Membership, via Sky Sports Tennis, Sky Sports Arena, and Sky Sports Mix channels.

For further access, fans will also be able to follow their favourite players and gain deeper insights from both Tours via Sky Sports News, the Sky Sports app, on SkySports.com and via Sky Sports social channels.

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