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Carlos Alcaraz outlasts Alexander Zverev as bees delay match

UPI

March 15 (UPI) -- Carlos Alcaraz batted away buzzing bees early on and waited out a nearly two-hour delay needed to clear the nuisance before cruising to a straight-sets triumph over Alexander Zverev in a BNP Paribas Open quarterfinal.

The Spaniard swept the match 6-3, 6-1 Thursday at California's Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Alcaraz, ranked No. 2, told reporters it was the "most unusual match" of his career.

"There were thousands flying and [getting] stuck in my hair," Alcaraz said of the bees. "One of them was hitting on me. I tried to stay away from them, but it was impossible. They were stuck in my hair, so I was running.

"I'm a little bit afraid of them, so I tried to stay safe. I was running everywhere."

Alcaraz logged just one ace, but converted 4 of 5 break points and fired 17 winners. He logged just six unforced errors, compared the Zverev's 10. Zverev fired 10 winners and did not earn a break point opportunity.

The match was tied 1-1 when Alcaraz won the first point of the third game. He then walked over to the chair umpire, who requested assistance for the insect issue and called for a match suspension. Alcaraz continued to swat away the bees and briefly hid behind a wall during the sequence.

Broadcast cameras filmed the bees swarming in front of their lenses. A tournament staff member, who was not wearing protective gear, then went up to one of the aerial cameras and used a vacuum to remove the bees.

Alcaraz went on to win game point when the match resumed. He then broke Zverev and held serve for a 3-1 edge in the set. He also held his next two serves to win the match.

Alcaraz will meet No. 3 Jannik Sinner of Italy in the semifinals Saturday at Indian Wells. No. 4 Daniil Medvedev of Russia will face No. 17 Tommy Paul of the United States in the other men's singles semifinal.

No. 1 Iga Swiatek of Poland will face No. 31 Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine in the first women's singles semifinal Friday night. No. 3 Coco Gauff of the United States will play No. 9 Maria Sakkari of Greece in the other semifinal.