Young Spanish tennis sensation Carlos Alcaraz advanced to the quarterfinal at the ongoing Queen’s Club Championships on Thursday. He defeated Arthur Rinderknech by 6-2, 6-3 to reach his first grass court quarterfinal. “I’m really happy with the level that I played today. Jiri is a great opponent, great shots,” the Spaniard said in his on-court interview as quoted by ATP. “He has a great game on grass. I am really happy with the level. I think I had a really solid match. I played my game, I enjoyed playing here and I am really happy with my first quarter-final here in Queen’s,” he added.
The 20-year-old had a 4-2 tour-level record on grass at the beginning of the week, but he is quickly gaining confidence on the surface. Alcaraz prevailed in one hour and 25 minutes to set up a matchup in the round of eight against either Francisco Cerundolo, the eighth seed, or former World No. 3 Grigor Dimitrov.
The Spaniard had some significant challenges at one point. He had three break points at 3-1 in the second set. Lehecka lost two of his chances due to errors on his forehand returns and short forehands, and Alcaraz ended the other opportunity with a forehand winner. In the entire game, he only encountered those two break points.
“After this match, after this level, the expectations change. I think I am ready to do a good result here on grass. Playing my first quarter-final here, I am going to enjoy it of course. It is a really beautiful place to play, so I am enjoying every single second here and of course, I will go into the next round with a lot of confidence and I will go for it,” said Alcaraz.
This week, Alcaraz is aiming for more than just his maiden victory on a grass court. He will retake control of Novak Djokovic’s position as World No. 1 in the ATP Rankings on Monday if he wins at Queen’s Club.
Holger Rune defeated the home favourite Ryan Peniston 6-3, 6-4 to reach the quarterfinals at Queen’s Club Championships.
Rune will next play sixth seed Lorenzo Musetti, who clawed past Ben Shelton in three sets earlier in the day.
Rune is making his tournament debut and has yet to drop a set in two matches. Against Peniston, the 20-year-old was never in danger, saving all three break points he faced.
Peniston has established himself as a capable grass-court player. All six of his tour-level victories have come to the surface, and he stunned Casper Ruud and Francisco Cerundolo last year at Queen’s Club.
However, Rune of Denmark set the tone by breaking his lefty opponent’s serve in the opening return game of the match. He battled to serve out the first set and the match, but he always managed to dig himself out of difficulty.
“I think the most important is that I came with a very, very humble approach to the surface and [was] ready to adjust it at any moment,” ATP.com quoted Rune as saying in his on-court interview.
“I played Ryan last year, so I knew more of what I was coming into. Last year I didn’t see him play so much, but I’ve seen him over the year now and he’s a great player, especially on this surface,” he added.
Praising his opponent, Rune said, “He’s dangerous. He makes you move and we all know how tough it is to move on grass, so I’m happy to come through.”
In other action, Sebastian Korda prevailed in an all-American battle against Frances Tiafoe 7-6(2), 6-3.
“Me and Frances always have some battles and just very happy to get through in straight sets,” Korda said in his on-court interview.
“Frances, he always brings a show, he always gets the crowd involved. Sometimes you’ve just got to kind of put your head down and take care of business. That’s all you can really do because when he starts to get going and kind of bringing everyone in, then he plays some of the best tennis on Tour,” he added.