CARLOS ALCAREZ is through to the semi-finals at the Indian Wells Masters, where he’ll face Rafael Nadal.
Andy Murray had already spotted the potential of Carlos Alcarez long before his run at Indian Wells. Alcarez, 18, is preparing for a semi-final with Spanish compatriot Rafael Nadal on Saturday, with his Spanish compatriot having continued his unbeaten start to 2022 after winning the Australian Open.

Andry murray

Nadal is 17 years older than Alcarez but the teenager has been in impressive form in America, starting his tournament with a comfortable win over American Mackenzie McDonald before conquering world no 15 Roberto Bautista Agut in straight sets. He backed that up with a three-set win over Frenchman Gael Monfils.

Then Alcarez, who won his maiden ATP title at the 2021 Croatia Open, beat defending champion Cameron Norrie 6-4 6-3 to set up the clash with Nadal. The 21-time Grand Slam winner needed a deciding set to beat Nick Kyrgios in his own feisty last eight match.

Like Nadal did, Alcarez is showing impressive strength and power for a player of his age, attributes which Murray noted when the pair met at the Vienna Open in October. The Scotsman was beaten 6-3 6-4 in Austria, and afterwards tipped the victor to go far in major tournaments.

“Yeah, he hits the ball really hard from the back of the court,” Murray told reporters afterwards. “And I’d probably say like physically, I don’t really like comparing like myself to other young players, but if I think back to when I was 18 in comparison to him, from a physical perspective he is unbelievably strong.

Andry murray

“It wouldn’t surprise me if he did really well in a Slam and was able to win long matches, like long five-set matches, already. A lot of younger players when they are 18, 19, are not physically ready for that – I’d say that’s probably the thing that sort of stands out, physically he seems, very, very strong.”

Murray, who himself was beaten in the first round this week by Alexander Bublik, also praised the energy of Alcarez, as well as his power. “He is obviously an excellent mover around the court as well, so that’s a big positive,” he added.

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For his part, Alcarez said afterwards it was just a “great feeling” to face a legend like Murray but meetings with top players are sure to get more frequent given his current progress. His clash with Nadal takes place at 6pm BST on Saturday.

Alcarez is now just two wins from a third career title and a second this year. At the 2022 Rio Open, he became the youngest winner of an ATP Tour 500 event since the category was created in 2009 and has been widely tipped to become a future Grand Slam winner.