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Tennis-Alcaraz survives Hurkacz to reach Cincinnati final


(Reuters) – Carlos Alcaraz fended off a match point en route to a 2-6 7-6(4) 6-3 win over Hubert Hurkacz on Saturday to reach the Cincinnati Open final, where he could potentially meet Novak Djokovic in a rematch of last month’s riveting Wimbledon final.

The Spanish world number one has lived dangerously since capturing his second Grand Slam title at the All-England Club, needing three sets in all his matches in Ohio, including his quarter-final win over qualifier Max Purcell.

Hurkacz, who narrowly lost to Alcaraz in the quarters of the Canadian Open, raced out to a 3-0 lead as Alcaraz mixed dazzling shotmaking with some head-scratching errors in the entertaining first set.

Hurkacz captured the opener when he broke Alcaraz for a second time and had match point in the second set while returning serve and leading 5-4 but misfired on a forehand wide.

Alcaraz drew Hurkacz to the net with a drop shot and then fired a sensational cross court winner to set up the tiebreak.

In the breaker Hurkacz once again started strong, grabbing a 4-1 lead before his 20-year-old opponent took his game to another level, pounding a forehand winner for a 5-4 lead and crushing a serve Hurkacz could not put in play to force a deciding set.

Alcaraz took control for good when Hurkacz’s forehand into the net handed Alcaraz his first break of the match at 3-1, with the Pole bouncing his racket off the court in frustration while a pumped up Alcaraz roared with the crowd.

A perfectly executed volley on his first match point delivered Alcaraz into his eighth final of the year, where he will face world number two Djokovic or Germany’s Alexander Zverev in Sunday’s final at the U.S. Open tune-up event.

(Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles, editing by Deepa Babington)

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