Carlos Alcaraz looks to continue his impressive 2023 on Saturday when he takes on Daniel Evans for a spot in the final of the Barcelona Open. It would be his fourth final of the year as he looks to move closer to regaining his No.1 in the ATP Tour rankings. As defending champion, he won’t be able to add to his total but a successful defence would keep him in touching distance of Novak Djokovic after the Serbian’s failure to win Banja Luka.
Evans has actually turned into a decent enough clay player having struggled a lot in his initial stages of establishing himself as a mainstay in the Top 50. It is his second semi final of the year on the surface having also made it to the last four in Marrakech, eventually losing to Roberto Carballes Baena. He came from a set down to beat in Francisco Cerundolo in the previous round here, with the Argentinian hitting over 50 unforced errors in Evans 2-6 7-5 6-3 victory.
Alcaraz is yet to drop a set but he has had to work in his last two wins against Roberto Bautista Agut and Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. He beat the latter 7-6 6-4 in the quarter finals, a match he will have been happy to get through in straights having been near the brink a few times. “It was really tough for me,” Alcaraz said. “I started playing pretty well, serving for the first set. I was not able to win [that game]… I was going really fast, a lot of things on my mind. [After the first set] I was talking to myself, positive things, trying to play long rallies, trying to [be there] through the points, trying to feel more comfortable with myself.”
It is always going to be hard to go against Alcaraz in his current form, especially on clay. Evans was lucky to have an erratic opponent in the previous round and Alcaraz will be anything but that, while also having the power to outhit the Brit on a regular occasion. Stefanos Tsitsipas likely awaits in the final and it will be interesting to see two of the main French Open contenders face off for the first time this year if both win.
Prediction – Carlos Alcaraz in straight sets