Canadian Open: Carlos Alcaraz downs Hubert Hurkacz to reach quarterfinals 

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MONTREAL: Top seed Carlos Alcaraz overcame a slow start and a surprising ending to defeat 15th seed Hubert Hurkacz and reach the quarterfinals of the Canadian Open.

The Spaniard rallied past Hurkacz 3-6, 7-6(2), 7-6(3) to extend his winning streak to 14 matches.

Alcaraz led the decisive set 5-2 and served for the match twice before finishing out the third-round match on his fifth match point.

Early in the match, Alcaraz struggled to establish his best level, hitting unforced forehand errors as the Pole won the opening three games for the loss of only three points. Hurkacz, a finalist in Montreal last year, played tight to the baseline and took the ball early to keep the World No. 1 at bay throughout the two-hour, 38-minute fight.

Despite getting broken in the first game of the second set, Alcaraz remained focused and found improved consistency in long rallies as Hurkacz’s first-serve percentage fell from 69 per cent to 48 per cent.

“Honestly, I didn’t know what happened. I started feeling bad at that moment. I couldn’t feel the right way in my shots. I didn’t know what happened. But what I was thinking was to stay calm, try to find a way to overcome the problems and find the good feeling again. I think at 5-6 serving, I started to feel better,” ATP.com quoted Alcaraz as saying of his third-set slide.

“The big players have that feeling to find a way to stay alive and try to end the match playing well,” said the Spaniard.

Alcaraz won 19 consecutive points behind his serve from late in the second set to late in the third but was unable to close off the contest. Hurkacz won four straight games to force a tie-break against the 12-time tour-level champion, who had two match points on serve at 5-2.

“In the tough moments you have to believe in yourself, try to go for it. It doesn’t matter if you win or not. You have to believe you are going to play your best in that moment, try to play aggressively. I think in the two tie-breaks I did pretty well. That’s why I got the win,” said Alcaraz, who committed 28 unforced errors to 48 winners.

Alcaraz will next play 12th seed Tommy Paul, who cruised past countryman Marcos Giron 6-3, 6-2 to reach his first Masters 1000 quarter-final of the year and set a third meeting against Spaniard (1-1). Paul struck 22 winners to Giron’s 13 and fended off seven of eight break points faced. (ANI)

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