Carlos Alcaraz gets off to a hot start in Umag SF | ATP Tour

Carlos Alcaraz continued his first defense of his ATP Tour title in style on Friday at the tournament Swimming Laguna Croatia Open Umagwhere he passed by Facundo Bagnis 6–0, 6–4 to reach his seventh semifinal of the season.

After opening the week as high as No. 5 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, the 19-year-old has moved up to world No. 4. Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings. He will move past Reka with a win against the Italian qualifier Giulio Zeppieri in Saturday’s semifinal.

“Power is power [reach] No. 4 in the rankings to have a chance to do that,” Alcaraz said after the match. “It’s amazing for me. I think I’m playing really well. I feel really comfortable playing here, I have a lot of confidence now.”

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The Spaniard overpowered Bagnis, winning the first eight games of the competition before the Argentine got on the board with a fighting hold. The world number 120 worked her way into the match from there, going 30/30 in the final three games on Alcaraz’s serve and setting up her solitary break point as the Spaniard served out the match.

But after his dominant start, Alcaraz did just enough to hold on to an early break advantage and close out the match in the second set. With the win, Alcaraz improved to 26-3 on clay this season and 7-1 in the quarterfinals, his only loss coming against Alexander Zverev in Roland Garros.

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After eliminating the left-handed Bagnis, he will face another lefty in Zeppieri, who earned a 7-5, 6-4 victory against Bernabe Zapata Miralles earlier on Friday. It was the first straight win of the week for the #NextGenATP Italian, who won four straight sets (including three from a set) in qualifying and the main draw to reach the quarterfinals.

“It’s not usual to play against left-handed players, but of course it’s preparation for the next round,” Alcaraz said. “It will be a really tough round. I have nightmares with the Italian players, but I’m trying to do my best and I’ll try [reach] final,” he added, referring to his Grand Slam defeats Matteo Berrettini and Jannik Sinner this season.

The marquee final between Alcaraz and second seed Sinner remains in play, with the Italian taking on the compatriot Franco Agamemnon in Saturday’s semifinal. Sinner was a 6-4, 7-6(5) winner against Roberto Carballes Baena in the quarterfinals.

Due to the proximity of Umag to Italy, the Italian players enjoyed great support all week in Croatia.

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