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Spain's Carlos Alcaraz returns the ball to Spain's Alejandro Davidovich during his victory in the Barcelona Open quarterfinals on Friday. Image Credit: AFP

Barcelona: Defeating yet another Spanish countryman, Carlos Alcaraz stayed on track to defend his title at the Barcelona Open.

Alcaraz beat Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 7-6 (5), 6-4 to make the semifinals on Friday.

Along with beating Roberto Bautista Agut in the quarterfinals, Alcaraz improved his record against Spaniards to 9-1 since the start of 2022. The only defeat was against Rafael Nadal in the Indian Wells semifinals last year.

Tough game

Alcaraz broke Davidovich Fokina’s serve for the second time in the final game to clinch the victory in more than two hours on the Rafa Nadal centre court.

Alcaraz lost three straight games toward the end of the first set before prevailing in the tiebreaker.

“It was really tough for me,” Alcaraz said after his second consecutive straight-set victory.

Drawing a big smile

The 38th-ranked Davidovich Fokina had the shot of the match when his drop volley in the second set bounced back onto his side of the net, drawing a big smile from Alcaraz.

“The hot shot is from him today,” Alcaraz said. “He played really well, great shots. Probably not only the one hot shot. He made a lot of them, probably more than me. It was a really fun match.”

The second-ranked Alcaraz has a semifinal against 12th-seeded Daniel Evans, who rallied to defeat 15th-seeded Francisco Cerúndolo 2-6, 7-5, 6-3.

Alcaraz is trying to become the first repeat champion in Barcelona since Nadal won three straight titles from 2016-18.

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Stefanos Tsitsipas is on tack to make his third Barcelona Open final after easing past Alex de Minaur for a place in semifinals. Image Credit: AFP

Second-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas advanced to the last four with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Alex de Minaur for his 19th win of the season — and ninth straight over the Australian in his career.

Sinner pulls out

“My patience was there. I knew that was the foundation of the match,” Tsitsipas said. “I am satisfied with my return game, especially towards the end. I found myself in a very good position to press early on.”

Tsitsipas will play in the semifinals against ninth-seeded Lorenzo Musetti, who received a walkover from fourth-seeded Jannik Sinner.

“Sad to have to withdraw from my match today in Barcelona,” Sinner said. “I’ve been feeling unwell for a few days now. Today, the sickness got worse and I’m not able to play. I’ll take some time to rest and recover.”

Tsitsipas was a finalist in Barcelona in 2018 and 2021, both times losing to Rafael Nadal.