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Alcaraz erases Zverev at Madrid Masters, awaits Khachanov in quarterfinals

Upsets have been plentiful at the Mutua Madrid Open, but to the surprise of no one Carlos Alcaraz has not been involved.

Alcaraz actually came close to getting upset in his opening match, as he trailed Emil Ruusuvuori by a set and almost went down a break in the second. Since then, though, the top seed has cruised.

In a rematch of last year’s Madrid title match, this time in the fourth round, Alcaraz destroyed Alexander Zverev 6-1, 6-2 on Tuesday. The world No. 2 needed just one hour and 22 minutes to set up a quarterfinal meeting with Karen Khachanov.

The 2022 Madrid final saw Alcaraz beat Zverev by a similar 6-3, 6-1 scoreline in only one hour and two minutes. He was arguably even better in the rematch.

“For me it’s amazing to play the level that I played today,” the 19-year-old Spaniard commented. “This result isn’t normal for me, but I played great. I feel very, very good right now. This match gives me a lot of confidence…. I just want to enjoy playing here in the Caja Magica in front of my home crowd; I just want to enjoy every moment.”

Khachanov trails the head-to-head series with Alcaraz 2-0 and has never even managed to be competitive. The Russian lost 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 at the French Open in 2022 and went down 6-0, 6-2 later that season in Hamburg.

It is an otherwise surprising quarterfinal lineup in Madrid. Fourth-round winners earlier on Tuesday were Khachanov, qualifier Aslan Karatsev, and lucky loser Daniel Altmaier. Khachanov beat doubles partner Andrey Rublev, another all-Russian battle saw Karatsev surprise Daniil Medvedev, and Altmaier defeated Jaume Munar in an all-unseeded matchup.

At least one other unseeded floater and perhaps even another lucky loser will be in the QFs, as Pedro Cachin is facing LL Jan-Lennard Struff later in the fourth round.

Ricky contributes to 10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on Twitter at @Dimonator.