Carlos Alcaraz clinched an impressive win over Daniil Medvedev on Friday to set up an enticing ATP Finals last four clash with Novak Djokovic.
Having lost his opening match to Alexander Zverev, Alcaraz knew only victory over Medvedev would do if he was to qualify for the semi-finals.
And he completed his mission in style, securing a 6-4 6-4 triumph to join the Russian in the semi-finals on his debut at the glittering event in Turin.
Alcaraz’s better sets record means he now leads the group and will face Djokovic in a rematch of their instant-classic Wimbledon final, while Medvedev meets fourth seed Jannik Sinner, the only player who is yet to lose a match.
Medvedev had already booked his spot in the last four but there was still plenty on the line in prize money and ranking points, but he simply could not match the all-round quality of Alcaraz.
“The most important thing that I did today is to stay strong mentally,” said Alcaraz afterwards.
“There were a few games with my serve that I was struggling a little bit, his return game is amazing and he puts so much pressure on you. I think to stay calm, to stay strong mentally in those moments was the key.”
This will be a fourth meeting of the season between Alcaraz and Djokovic, with the young Spaniard claiming the Wimbledon crown but losing out at the French Open and in Cincinnati in August.
“It’s one of the most difficult challenges that I’m going to face, facing Novak in this tournament that he has won six times,” said Alcaraz.
“Obviously Novak is Novak, he’s the best player in the world right now. I’m going to put my best tennis (out there) and I’m going to enjoy it. I’m excited.”