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Tennis-Alcaraz ends Purcell’s dream Cincinnati run, Hurkacz advances


(Reuters) – World number one Carlos Alcaraz ended Australian qualifier Max Purcell’s dream run with a 4-6 6-3 6-4 win to reach the Cincinnati Open semi-finals on Friday, while Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz got past lucky loser Alexei Popyrin 6-1 7-6(8).

The 70th-ranked Purcell has produced some of the best tennis of his career recently and at the U.S. Open tune-up event he took down French Open finalist Casper Ruud and three-time Grand Slam winner Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland.

But Alcaraz’s superb form was too much to overcome as the twice Grand Slam winner kept his cool after a frustrating opening set, unleashing 30 winners in the match on Centre Court.

The Spaniard failed to convert his only break point chance of the first set in the second game before helping Purcell to the crucial break in the seventh game with an unforced error.

Purcell sealed the first set with an unreturnable serve but the 20-year-old Spaniard sent a quick reminder of why he is the world’s best as he won the first three games of a speedy second set, where he dropped only two of his first-serve points.

Down a break in the third, Purcell refused to go down without a fight, fending off four break points in an epic third game before neutralising Alcaraz’s mighty forehand to break back in the fourth.

But the Wimbledon champion kept his composure and broke Purcell to love in the ninth game before sealing the affair in the next game with an ace and a smile.

The win set up a semi-final with 20th-ranked Hurkacz, who sent over 10 aces and never faced a break point in his lopsided win over Australian Popyrin.

Hurkacz, who lost to Alcaraz in the last 16 in Toronto earlier this month, won the first five games in the 26-minute first set, where he only dropped one first-serve point.

He squandered a 6-1 lead in the tiebreak but held on to reach the fifth Masters 1000 semi-final of his career.

“Alexei raised his level and was serving really good throughout that second set, I just got to the tiebreaker,” Hurkacz said.

“I got off to a good start and then Alexei played some good points, but fortunately I battled through for that one.”

The evening programme sees ninth-seeded American Taylor Fritz take on Serbian second seed Novak Djokovic, while France’s Adrian Mannarino plays German number 16 seed Alexander Zverev.

(Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York; Editing by Ken Ferris)

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