California [US], March 15 (ANI): Carlos Alcaraz advanced to the Indian Wells Open quarterfinals on Tuesday as he led Jack Draper 6-2, 2-0 when the Briton was forced to retire with an abdominal injury.
Draper was forced to retire with an abdominal injury that first affected him late in his Monday win against Andy Murray.
The two players' second ATP Head2Head showdown began with all the excitement of their first encounter, in which Alcaraz just prevailed in a close third set in Basel last October. Early on, both players made spectacular shots, but Alcaraz excelled at routine points and built a 2-0 lead by escaping 0/40 in his first serve game with timed power plays.
As the game went on, Draper's abdominal problem made it difficult for him to move and serve, which caused it to fall well below 100 mph. He only managed to win one point in the first two games of the second set after the physio had seen him in between sets, and then he retired, giving Alcaraz his 101st tour-level victory.
"I felt the ball really well. I'm really happy with that part. I would say I returned well, I hit great shots. I finished the match with confidence in my shots, to come into the next round with more confidence," ATP.com quoted Carlos Alcaraz as saying.
"Honestly, the nerves are there. But you have to handle that, and I would say I handled the nerves really well. That's the goal for me, to show that I'm relaxed, to play relaxed. It's something that I am practising for as well, to play my game, and relaxing. If I lose, I lose, but I want to feel relaxed on the court," the 19-year-old Spaniard said.
Meanwhile, Felix Auger-Aliassime fought off six match points and went on to defeat American Tommy Paul 3-6, 6-3, 7-6(6) at the Indian Wells Open. Auger-Aliassime will face world No. 2 Carlos Alcaraz of Spain in the quarterfinals.
"I always stayed positive, I kept my hopes up, I kept thinking, 'OK, I'm not that far, I can come back. At the end, when you're down 0/40 on your serve, you know that... 'OK if I win this first one, serve well, then again, then again, we're back on even terms," a relieved Auger-Aliassime said of his great escape against Paul.
"You just kind of take it one by one. It's very cliche to say but it still works; that's the proof. I'm really happy to get through. It's a crazy feeling," he added. (ANI)