cinch Championships 2023: Next gen to headline semi-finals as Alcaraz, Rune and Korda reach the final four on debut
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It’s safe to say the youngsters have stolen the limelight at this year’s cinch Championships, after three Next Gen players all reached the semi-finals on their tournament debuts.
Top seed and world No.2, Carlos Alcaraz leads the line-up where he’s joined by second seed Holger Rune, Sebastian Korda and former semi-finalist Alex de Minaur.
Despite making their maiden appearances at the Queen’s Club this year, Alcaraz, Rune and Korda have sent a strong message to the wider field that they can cause an upset during the remainder of the grass court season.
20-year-old Alcaraz is no stranger to a semi-final, having made it to the final four in eight of the last nine tournaments he’s played.
“The work that I’ve put in and the matches I’ve played at a good level have helped me coming into this match” Alcaraz reflected after his 6-4, 6-4 quarter-final win over former champion Dimitrov.
“I played really well from the beginning to the last ball - the two matches before helped me out a lot."
The Spaniard holds a remarkable 26-1 record against players ranked outside the Top 20 this year and will be gunning to extend that record with a victory over Korda today.
“It’s great to play against the young players, we are the new generation and we’re going to be playing a lot of matches in some great tournaments.
“Sebi (Korda) is a friend of mine and he’s coming in with some great tennis so it’s going to be a really good match. I hope the crowd will enjoy the match because it’s going to be something special.”
Rune had to fight back from a break down in the opening set to seal a 6-4, 7-5 victory over fellow youngster, Lorenzo Musetti.
The second seed - who had never won an ATP-level match on the grass before this tournament - has constructed three consecutive straight-set victories so far this week and is aiming to become the first Danish player to reach a tour-level final on grass since 1999.
The 20-year-old has already exceeded his own expectations for the tournament and is focused on using his feature at the Queen’s Club as a prime opportunity to build a stronger relationship with the grass.
“I’m feeling more confident now than I did before the tournament”, Rune said. “But still, I’ve only played three matches on the grass, I haven’t had tournaments that I’ve won yet.
“Every match I play, I just try to stay in there and do my best because I know that if I want to do well on the grass over the years, I have to build a good relationship with the surface and I have to try to enjoy it as much as I can.”
Meanwhile, Korda eased past home favourite Cam Norrie 6-4, 7-6(1) to secure his ticket to the semi-final.
Grass appears to be a natural fit for the 22-year-old who now has an 9-4 record on the surface, with a fourth-round appearance at Wimbledon being his best run at a Grand Slam.
“I’m playing really well on grass and feeling really comfortable” the American said. “I’m really enjoying myself here (at the cinch Championships) - it’s a really special place.”
“I’ve played some really good players this week and had some great wins. Everything is kind of clicking right now and I’m really enjoying it.”
While aiming to reach a maiden final on the grass, Korda has already set his sights on the silverware at SW19 where he backs himself as a favourite to lift his maiden major title.
“I’m very confident in myself on a grass court. I move really well, and I definitely have a game that not very many people have.
“I’m an aggressive player, I like to come to the net, I have good hands and I definitely feel I’m one of the favourites at Wimbledon”.
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