Danish teenager Holger Rune reached his first ATP Masters 1000 semifinal when his quarterfinal opponent, world No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz, retired during a second-set tiebreak with an abdominal injury at the Rolex Paris Masters on Friday in France.
Rune led 6-3, 6-6 (3-1) when Alcaraz retired. The Spaniard underwent treatment on a muscle injury while leading the second set 6-5. Rune won the 12th game to force the tiebreak, then went ahead 3-1 with three straight points before Alcaraz made the decision to retire.
“Carlos is, if not the best, one of the best return players in the world,” Rune said after the match. “Of course, he is No. 1, so he is obviously the best in the world right now, but I’m super happy with how I handled all the things under pressure and how I handled also my return game. I tried to play as aggressive as possible. Sometimes I missed a few shots but it was all worth it because at the end I was very good at important moments.”
Rune, 19, has gone 17-2 in his last 19 matches and is vying to reach the final of his fourth straight event. He had five aces against Alcaraz and saved both break points he faced.
In the semifinals, Rune will face eighth seed Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada, who breezed past 16th seed Frances Tiafoe 6-1, 6-4. It was Auger-Aliassime’s 16th straight win. He’s won titles in Florence, Italy; Antwerp, Belgium; and Basel, Switzerland in that span.
Tiafoe saved six match points, including five in one game when Auger-Aliassime was leading the second set 5-3.
“Of course, I had match points at 5-3,” Auger-Aliassime said. “(Tiafoe) tried everything and tried many different ways to stay in the match. He did for one more game, but I’m happy that I was able to be clutch in those moments. Serving for the match and (I) stayed cool and played great points when I needed to.”
The other semifinal will pit defending champion Novak Djokovic of Serbia against Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece.
Djokovic, the sixth seed, needed just 74 minutes to beat Italy’s Lorenzo Musetti 6-0, 6-3. Djokovic had a 17-8 edge in winners and capitalized on Musetti’s 14 unforced errors.
The 21-time Grand Slam winner is in the hunt for his seventh career victory at the Paris Masters.
Tsitsipas, the fifth seed, handled business against Tommy Paul 6-2, 6-4.
–Field Level Media