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Rublev ends Alcaraz’s Madrid Open streak in quarterfinal upset

Andrey Rublev ended Carlos Alcaraz’s bid for a third consecutive Madrid Open title with a stunning upset in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.

Alcaraz, the reigning Wimbledon champion, appeared poised to extend his remarkable 14-match winning streak at the tournament after winning the first set. However, the Russian seventh seed, Rublev, mounted a comeback, claiming victory with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 scoreline in just over two hours.

Reflecting on his performance, the 26-year-old expressed surprise at his composure throughout the match, telling Sky Sports, “That I was able to stay calm all the match. I don’t know how – even me, I’m surprised.”

World No. 3 Alcaraz, who defended his Indian Wells title in March, saw the start of his clay-court season disrupted by an arm injury, which caused him to miss both the Monte Carlo Masters and the Barcelona Open.

Backed by a partisan home crowd, including former Spain international footballers David Villa and Raúl, and Real Madrid star Luka Modric, the 20-year-old started well.

But underdog Rublev swung the momentum by breaking serve in the second game of the second set before dominating the remainder of the contest to set up a semifinal with either American Taylor Fritz or Argentine Francisco Cerundolo.

Alcaraz’s elimination came a day after compatriot Rafael Nadal, a four-time winner of the competition, crashed out to Jiri Lehecka.

World No. 8 Rublev, who hit 30 winners under the roof on Manolo Santana Stadium, added: “I just was saying, ‘keep playing, keep fighting, keep trying.’

“I had one break in the first set so keep believing in yourself, be more convinced, go for it and maybe you will have more break points.

“In the end, I was able to return well and I was able to break him straight away in the second set and that gave me a bit more confidence.”

In the women’s draw, reigning champion Aryna Sabalenka cruised to a 6-1, 6-4 quarterfinal victory over 17-year-old Russian Mirra Andreeva.

Former Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina awaits Belarusian Sabalenka in the last four after she saved two match points en route to edging past fellow Kazakh player Yulia Putintseva 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 7-5.

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