Carlos Alcaraz looks to extend his record to 18-1 on the year on Wednesday night, facing Taylor Fritz in the latest match of his Miami Open title defence. The Spaniard looks unbeatable right now and has to be considered the overwhelming favourite to take this trophy once against and confirm his Sunshine Double. These two have yet to meet so far during Alcaraz’s short time at the top.
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Alcaraz is still yet to drop a set during his time in the US this year with Tommy Paul his latest victim. The American had beaten him last year but found things much tougher in this one. He did make Alcaraz work for this victory though with the Spaniard breaking just once in each set for the 6-4 6-4 victory. The extra intensity from Alcaraz saw Paul need to go for more on his shorts leading to a slew of errors as he remained unable to take charge. “I played a really great match and I hope to play the same level in the quarter-final,” Alcaraz said. “I moved well and defended well and I counter-attacked and I think if I play at that same level I will have a lot of chances to get through.”
Fritz was an easy winner in the clash of Top 10 players in the fourth round. He saved five of six break points against Holger Rune on his way to a 6-3 6-4 victory. Fritz has had to keep winning to maintain his spot in the rankings but should now stay at 10 after Miami. “I couldn’t play aggressively in my first two matches because my opponents were hitting every ball as hard as they could. [Rune] still crushes the ball but it was nice to feel I had some more time,” Fritz said after. “The first two rounds, it was impossible to play my game, I just had to make balls. Today when I got the chance to be aggressive I was and I just wanted to serve well and try not to give him many free points.”
It could be fair to say that Fritz does offer much of the same as Paul but is much better and more consistent at it as of now. A big serving day is going to be vital if the American wants to have a chance but hitting through Alcaraz is going to be tough as he is already one of the best defenders on the tour. It feels like the next player to beat Alcaraz will be someone who takes advantage of the inevitable physical lull from the World No.1 and while Fritz would be good enough to do so, that time doesn’t look like it will be soon yet.
Prediction – Carlos Alcaraz in straight sets
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