Carlos Alcaraz First to Qualify into Next Gen SFs in Milan, Beats Cerundolo

Carlos Alcaraz First to Qualify into Next Gen SFs in Milan, Beats Cerundolo Photo: TT
Carlos Alcaraz celebrates after winning against Juan Manuel Cerundolo at the ATP Next Gen. Milan, Italy, Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021. Photo Credit: AP Photo/Antonio Calanni.

The Spaniard became the youngest 30-match winner since Rafael Nadal after defeating Argentine Juan Manuel Cerundolo on Thursday in Milan.

On Thursday, the Allianz Cloud stadium saw Top seed Carlos Alcaraz seal victory over 2021 Cordoba Open champion Juan Manuel Cerundulo 4-0, 4-1, 2-4, 4-3(3) after 84 minutes, earning his third consecutive win in Group A.

Cerundolo took a set off the Murcia native but could not halt the aggressive tennis displayed by his rival, who hit two aces, winning 73 percent of his first-service points, 59 percent with his second, saving nine of the ten break points he faced.

In his on-court interview, Alcaraz commented: “I am very happy to get to the semi-finals. It is so important and to be able to play in the semi-finals here is amazing. To play these kinds of matches and tat his level, I am really glad. I am playing really, really well and feel very comfortable in Milan. I want to end the year with a title.”

He further added: “I had to be really focused on my serve, make first serves and play aggressive on big points. Making first serves helped me. It is something I am trying to add to my game. The most important points is when you want the first serves.”

The day before, the 18-year-old qualified into the semi-finals at the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals, overcoming fourth seed Brandon Nakashima 4-3, 4-1, 4-3.

Alcaraz, who is currently world No. 32 in the ATP rankings, made his debut at the tournament against Holger Rune, toppling the Danish player 4-3(6), 4-2, 4-0 in their first meeting on tour level.

It was a really tough match. The first set was so close. He had the chance to win the set, and I think it was a great match. Both of us played really well. I tried to stay calm, this is new for me. I was really nervous at the beginning, but I tried to be calm,” the Spanish player said after achieving his maiden triumph in Milan.

In his rookie season on tour, he has earned his first ATP title in Croatia.

Playing the third round at the U.S. Open, he stunned world number three Stefanos Tsitsipas in a five-setter held at the iconic Arthur Ashe Stadium, becoming the youngest quarter-finalist at the tournament in the Open Era and at a Grand Slam since American player Michael Chang, at the age of 18 back in 1990 at the French Open.

Last month in Vienna, Alcaraz reached his first ATP 500 career semi-final at the Erste Bank Open, falling to eventual champion Alexander Zverev in straight sets.

En route to the last four, he ousted world number seven Matteo Berrettini in the quarterfinals.

Next, the 2021 Plava Laguna Croatia Open Umag champion will face Group B No. 2 (1 of 4 players) Friday.

The Next Gen ATP Finals run from November 9th to 13th in Milan, Italy.

Cecilia demartini
Sports Pundit staff writer @ceci_2812
Cecilia is a writer and a journalist passionate about sports, particularly motorsport, tennis, and soccer

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