Defending champion Alcaraz, Tsitsipas to meet in Barcelona final
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Defending champion Carlos Alcaraz eased into the final of the Barcelona Open after seeing off Daniel Evans 6-2, 6-2 on Saturday.
The second-ranked Alcaraz will face Stefanos Tsitsipas in Sunday’s final after the Greek advanced by beating Lorenzo Musetti 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 on the outdoor clay court.
Alcaraz sealed his victory when he blasted a return under Evans' racket as he made an approach.
“Of course, how you reach a final is important for your confidence, and I head into tomorrow with a great feeling,” said Alcaraz, after not dropping a set in four matches. “Even so, we can’t just rely on how I have played and know that it will be a tough game.”
Alcaraz, the U.S. Open champion, will be seeking his ninth career title and third of the year after triumphing in Buenos Aires and Indian Wells. If he beats Tsitsipas, his title in Barcelona will be his first that he has successfully defended.
The 19-year-old Spaniard is 3-0 against Tsitsipas including a three-set victory in the Barcelona quarterfinals last year. Alcaraz described last year's game here against Tsitsipas as “spicy.”
“Last year we had a spicy match, let’s say,” Alcaraz said. “I’m going to try to forget everything that has happened in the matches before, try to focus on my game tomorrow, and try to get the win.”
Alcaraz will also attempt a title defense at the Madrid Open next week in the absence of former champions Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
Alcaraz beat countryman Pablo Carreño in last year’s Barcelona final during his impressive run that took him to the world No. 1 ranking.
Tsitsipas reached the final at Barcelona in 2018 and 2021, losing both times to 12-time winner Nadal.
The fifth-ranked Tsitispas is seeking his first title of 2023.
Tsitispas and Musetti struggled with their service games. Tsitsipas converted six of his 11 break points, while Musetti made good on five of 10.
“It was very physical out there,” said Tsitsipas, who improved his record against Musetti to 4-0. “We had to cover lots of meters on the court and he had some incredible defensive shots that I really didn’t expect at all. It was such a mental challenge.”
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