Between artificial light, balls and looks, Carlos Alcaraz and Stefanos Tsitsipas fought the last time they met on the court. Coincidentally it was in the same place where they will meet again this Sunday, the facilities of the Royal Tennis Club of Barcelona (RCTB). Last year it was in the quarterfinals, but this time it will be in the final of the 70th edition of the Catalan tournament. Sparks went off in that match, where the man from El Palmar celebrated his first great night in Pedralbes against a deranged Tsitsipas, but who will seek revenge twelve months later. Another duel is expected again (from 4:00 p.m., Teledeporte and Movistar Deportes) of maximum friction.
The Murcian, who was finally able to let go, got rid of the British Daniel Evans this Saturday by fast track (double 6-2 in 80 minutes), who did not cause him as many complications as his compatriots Davidovich and Bautista in the previous rounds. The 19-year-old ATP number two reaches the final after linking nine consecutive victories in the tournament and now hopes to defend the title in Barcelona before disembarking in the Caja Mágica in Madrid.
“I feel confident and I’m getting better every time, but I have to stay focused because tomorrow [por este domingo] it will be very complicated. I will watch videos to see what I have to do and what not to do and I will also have to think a lot about how he is going to face the game”, assured a smiling Alcaraz as soon as he resolved the semifinal, in which he hardly found any resistance from Evans, 32 years old and 26th. of the world.
Between him and the trophy will be Tsitsipas, who was just one step away from the award in the 2018 and 2021 editions. The Greek had to work for the win against the passionate Musetti, who saved a match point in the second set and led him to the third partial; even so, he gave up 6-4, 5-7 and 6-3. The young Italian (21 years old) was the only one capable of putting the Athenian in trouble, who is trying to recover his sensations after the disappointing time in Monte Carlo, where he lost in the quarterfinals.
“I want to play against one of the best players of the moment, if not the best. It will be a great challenge. I will have to focus on my game and push myself to the maximum” assures a Tsitsipas who has never been able to sink his teeth into the Murcian: 3-0 in favor of the Spaniard.
The tension of the past course
The rivalry between the two, not as friendly as the one Alcaraz has with Sinner, began in the summer of 2021 when the Spaniard surprised in the third round of the US Open and defeated in five sets, in front of a packed Arthur Ashe, a Tsitsipas who was seeded number three and who was among the favorites to win the great New Yorker. It was the match in which the Spaniard showed himself to the world as the new jewel of tennis.
Another victory would follow in North America in March 2022. This time it would be in Miami: 7-5 and 6-3 for the Spaniard, who days later would be crowned with his first Masters 1000. It was the preamble to last year’s duel in Pedralbes, in which sparks flew. The Greek tried to intentionally hit Alcaraz with a ball and went to the locker room in the middle of the set; The Greek tried everything, who, frustrated and whistled by the public, gave in again to Alcaraz (6-4, 5-7 and 6-2).
“I have heard that he wants a rematch and plays against me; That’s good, I also want to play against him because I always want to play against the best in the world and Stefanos is one of them”, expressed the number two. “I think he is a very good boy, off-piste he is peculiar, but I get along well with him and when I see him I greet him. The ball? It was an ugly gesture, but what happens on the track stays on the track. We all make mistakes and I don’t judge him at all for it. I do not think that tomorrow there will be the tension of last year ”, settled Alcaraz.
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