Alcaraz earns Zverev revenge, Medvedev out of Madrid Open
World number two Carlos Alcaraz breezed past Alexander Zverev 6-1, 6-2 to reach the Madrid Open quarter-finals on Tuesday.
Third-ranked Daniil Medvedev crashed out against Russian compatriot Aslan Karatsev, 7-6 (7/1), 6-4, while Stefanos Tsitsipas eased through against Bernabe Zapata Miralles 6-3, 6-1.
In the women's competition world number two Aryna Sabalenka was forced to sweat by Mayar Sherif but eventually came through 2-6, 6-2, 6-1 to reach the semi-finals.
Top-seeded Spaniard Alcaraz, who also beat Zverev in last season's Madrid final, gained revenge for the German's triumph when they met later in the 2022 French Open quarter-finals.
Two-time Madrid winner Zverev, 26, was blown away in the opening set. He improved a little in the second but not sufficiently to trouble Alcaraz, who moved his opponent around at will.
"I played at a great level, I didn't let him dominate, I went on the attack the whole time, and above all, I returned really well," said Alcaraz, who won in one hour 22 minutes.
"I played a complete game, and that's how we have this result -- but it's not a normal result against (Zverev)."
The US Open champion dropped just two points in the first set in his near-immaculate service games, and put strong pressure on the German's serve.
Alcaraz converted his third break point to take a 2-0 lead in the 11-minute second game, before wresting another from Zverev for 5-1, consolidating to take the set.
The duo traded blows on serve at the start of the second set before Alcaraz carved out a break for 3-2 when Zverev sent a forehand return wide.
Alcaraz again broke for a 5-2 lead with a neat forehand down the line and triumphed on serve when Zverev batted a return long.
In the last eight, the Murcian will face Karen Khachanov who dispatched Andrey Rublev 7-6 (10/8), 6-4 in another all-Russian battle.
Medvedev, second seed in the Spanish capital, has admitted he struggles on clay and fell to another defeat against Karatsev on the dirt, as he did in Rome two seasons ago.
Karatsev triumphed comfortably in the first set tie-break, his ball striking immaculate throughout the clash, hitting 28 winners to just four unforced errors.
Ranked 121st in the world, the qualifier broke the 2021 US Open winner for 3-2 in the second set and only dropped two points on his serve after that to progress.
"Feeling great, playing well, I just have to focus every match. I'll be preparing for the next round," said Karatsev.
He will face Zhizhen Zhang, who became the first Chinese player to reach the quarter-finals of a Masters 1000 event.
Zhang eked out a nailbiting victory over world number 10 Taylor Fritz, 3-6, 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (10/8).
World number five Tsitsipas will face lucky loser Jan-Lennard Struff, who saw off Pedro Cachin 7-6 (9/7), 6-7 (7/9), 6-3.
The other quarter-final pits Croatian Borna Coric, ranked 20th, against Germany's Daniel Altmaier.
- Slow start -
Australian Open champion Sabalenka struggled badly at first against Sherif but turned the two-hour match around convincingly to reach the semi-finals.
"I was just trying to keep fighting to keep playing my game and find my rhythm," said Sabalenka.
"She's a clay court specialist and I'm very happy with this win. It was a very tough one."
Sherif, the first Egyptian to reach a WTA 1000 quarter-final, capitalised on Sabalenka's erratic start to break in the first game.
The 26-year-old became the first player to take a set off Sabalenka in Madrid.
However the Belarusian, 24, bounced back strongly, converting all four of her break points in the second set and hitting 10 winners to Sherif's one to force a third.
The 2021 Madrid winner was a break down at 2-1 in the second but won 11 of the next 12 games, dominating her opponent in the third set.
Sabalenka will face Greek world number nine Maria Sakkari after she came from behind to beat Romanian Irina-Camelia Begu 6-7 (3/7), 6-4, 6-2 in the second quarter-final.