After three defeats in his first three games against him, Carlos Alcaraz resolved his ‘curse’ with Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime on Thursday and qualified brilliantly for the Indian Wells semifinals, where another tough nut to crack awaits him: Italian Jannik Sinner.

With great authority and hardly any cracks in his game, Alcaraz beat Auger-Aliassime, tenth in the world ranking, by a double 6-4 in two hours.

The Spaniard will play the semifinals in the Californian desert for the second year in a row (in 2022 he lost to Rafa Nadal in an epic match) and, if he took the Indian Wells title, he would regain world number one now held by Serbian Novak Djokovic. For this, he will have to overcome Sinner on Saturday, who beat the current tournament champion, American Taylor Fritz, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in two hours and 17 minutes this Thursday in the quarterfinals.

Number 13 in the world ranking, the Italian defeated Alcaraz in the Umag final in 2022 and eliminated him in the round of 16 at Wimbledon, but in the quarterfinals of the US Open he fell to the Murcian after an exciting match. The other Indian Wells semifinal will be played by the American Frances Tiafoe and the Russian Daniil Medvedev, who is living a fabulous moment with 18 straight matches won and three tournaments won in a row (Rotterdam, Doha and Dubai).

On a cool night in Indian Wells with the central court practically full, two of the young talents called to relieve the historic trio formed by Nadal, Federer and Djokovic were measured. In addition, in the previous story about Auger-Aliassime, 22, as Alcaraz’s ‘black beast’, 19, there was a particularly striking fact: in 31 games against the rest over three games, the Murcian had not achieved break the Canadian’s serve on any occasion.

In fact, Alcaraz had wasted 11 ‘break’ balls in those precedents. That drought ended tonight although it was not easy at first.

Alcaraz began the duel displaying great strength on his serve and putting his rival in trouble, but he did not sign the break until his sixth opportunity against an Auger-Aliassime who defended himself with rage and with cannon shots on his serve (3-2) .

Before reaching that key moment in the first round, Alcaraz had already left pearls of extraordinary quality such as a couple of perfect drop shots or, above all, an impressive rally in which he “resurrected” with a spectacular lob when he already seemed to have the point lost and that he finished off going up to the net.

With the public totally amazed, the young man put his hand to his ear asking for even more applause and celebrated such an action with his fist closed and looking at his coach Juan Carlos Ferrero. Alcaraz, who only had to save one ‘break’ ball in the first set, did not look back and decisively sealed the first set with a wonderful parallel forehand.

Auger-Aliassime had to invent a comeback but, although he did not lower his head, this time he did not find the heroic resistance of his round of 16 duel when he saved six match points against the American Tommy Paul.

The Montrealer gave up his first turn to serve in the second set with several errors but then recovered with his first ‘break’ to Alcaraz of the evening (1-1). It was a turning point with a more solid Auger-Aliassime that balanced the forces of the match. However, Alcaraz did not rush, he continued to dominate from the bottom of the court and patiently waited for his moment, which arrived at 4-4 and in another game of cold sweat from his rival to keep serve.

Auger-Aliassime resorted to two tremendous serves to solve a 15-40 but finally conceded the break and threw in the towel against an Alcaraz who continues to walk with firm steps in Indian Wells.

After the match and at the foot of the track, the Spaniard, who highlighted his work to the rest tonight, was very satisfied for having defeated “one of the toughest players on the circuit” for the first time. “I’m really proud to beat him here in this stadium and qualify for the semi-finals after this great match,” he said.

Already at a press conference, he was very satisfied for having defeated Auger-Aliassime for the first time and also for his great ability to respond to the Canadian’s serve. “The difference has been the rest. It has been one of the games that I have subtracted the best from my entire career. It has been a great key to winning this game. I have also taken advantage of the opportunities that I have had, which in the previous games against Felix I did not I could,” he explained.

“I have also played very loose. I have not felt any pressure, I have enjoyed my game to the fullest: going up to the net, making drop shots, hitting great shots…”, he added.