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Barcelona, April 21 – World No. 2 Carlos Alcaraz fought off a late charge from countryman Roberto Bautista Agut to notch his second straight-sets victory this week at the Barcelona Open ATP Tour event.
The 19-year-old Alcaraz continued his title defence with a 6-3, 7-5 win, looking at home on the Spanish clay in his first tournament since his hard-court run to the semifinals at Miami Open.
He was joined in the last-eight stage by 15th-seeded Argentine Francisco Cerundolo who stunned third-seed Casper Ruud of Norway in a pre-quarterfinal clash on Thursday night.
Meanwhile, two-time Barcelona Open finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas moved a step closer to capturing his first title at the ATP 500 event on Thursday when he overcame 14th-seeded Canadian Denis Shapovalov 6-3, 6-2.
The victory improved Alcaraz to 9-1 against fellow Spaniards, with his only loss coming to Rafael Nadal in last year’s Indian Wells semis. Playing on the Barcelona centre court named for Nadal, Alcaraz is bidding to become the first repeat champion at the ATP 500 since the Spanish legend reigned from 2016-18.
He will face another Spaniard, 10th seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, in Friday’s quarterfinals.
Bautista Agut was stopped short of his third Barcelona quarterfinal (2015, 2018) as Alcaraz denied him his first Top 10 win on clay. At 35, he was the oldest player in the last 16.
Francisco Cerundolo closed Thursday’s play in Barcelona with a 7-6(5), 6-3 upset of third seed Casper Ruud. The 15th-seeded Argentine improved to a 4-6 lifetime against Top 10 opponents to reach his fourth quarter-final of 2023 and his first overall at the ATP 500.
Cerundolo will meet 12th seed Daniel Evans in Friday’s quarterfinals after the Briton’s 6-3, 6-4 win against Karen Khachanov.
In a heavy-hitting clash, Tsitsipas demonstrated great footwork to dictate on his forehand. The Greek second seed saved both break points he faced and hit his groundstrokes with weight on the Barcelona clay, successfully targeting Shapovalov’s backhand to improve to 2-3 in their ATP Head2Head series and reach the quarterfinals.