Alcaraz retires with injury as Djokovic races into semis



Alcaraz retires with injury as Djokovic races into semis

PARIS (AFP) – World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz retired from his Paris Masters quarter-final against Holger Rune on Friday with an abdominal injury, while defending champion Novak Djokovic made quick work of Italy’s Lorenzo Musetti.

Alcaraz, the reigning US Open champion, lost the first set and was trailing 3-1 in a second set tie-break when he decided to stop, having received treatment to his left side at the previous changeover. 

“It’s something wrong on the abdominal,” said Alcaraz. “At the end of the set, it was wrong. It was getting wrong and I preferred to retire and take care about it.”

The Spanish teenager had been attempting to win a third Masters title of the year after victories in Miami and Madrid.

Alcaraz would have been confirmed as the year-end world number one before the ATP Finals in Turin later this month had he lifted the trophy this weekend in the French capital.

Instead, his participation at the November 13-20 event is now in doubt. Alcaraz had arrived in Paris struggling with a knee injury, an issue he downplayed earlier in the week.

Rune will face in-form Felix Auger-Aliassime for a place in Sunday’s final. The 19-year-old Dane lost to Auger-Aliassime in the final in Basel last weekend.

Djokovic charged into the last four with a 6-0, 6-3 demolition of the 20-year-old Musetti.

Musetti, who lifted the trophy in Naples last month, won just eight points as Djokovic motored through the first set in 24 minutes.

The 21-time Grand Slam champion, gunning for a record-extending seventh Bercy title, dropped serve early in the second set but swiftly recovered with successive breaks.

Djokovic meets the winner of Friday’s late match between fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas and Tommy Paul, the American who dumped Rafael Nadal out in the second round.

Earlier, Auger-Aliassime continued his quest for a fourth title in as many weeks by beating Frances Tiafoe 6-1, 6-4 to stretch his winning run to 16 matches.

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