Carlos Alacraz set up an ATP Finals last-four showdown with Novak Djokovic after beating Daniil Medvedev 6-4, 6-4 on Friday and topping the Red Group.
World number two Alcaraz needed to win to ensure a spot in the last four on his debut appearance at the season-ending tournament.
And he did just that in impressive fashion, cruising to a straight-sets victory which ensured him first place ahead of Medvedev regardless of what happens in Friday night’s dead-rubber between Alexander Zverev and Andrey Rublev.
“It’s amazing to be able to play the semi-finals here on my first time. I played some great tennis these last two matches,” said Alcaraz.
“Novak is Novak, he is the best player in the world right now, he’s just lost six matches this year so that means he is unbelievable. I’m going to bring my best tennis.”
Alcaraz also gained a small measure of revenge for defeat in the U.S. Open semifinals against Medvedev, who finishes second in the group after having already qualified for the semis on Wednesday.
Alcaraz came into the Finals struggling with form and injury but has warmed up as the tournament has progressed and his semi-final with Djokovic on Saturday promises to be a blockbuster.
Djokovic, who has already secured the year-end top spot in the world rankings, is gunning for a record-breaking seventh Finals triumph after qualifying second in the Green Group.
Medvedev, the 2020 Finals champion, will now face home hope Jannik Sinner, who became the first Italian ever to reach the semis on Thursday.
The Russian has faced Sinner in four finals this season, sharing them with two wins each but prevailing in the most important, at the Miami Masters back in April.
© 2023 AFP