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Alcaraz's Madrid Open title defence ended by Rublev

By Vincent Ashitey
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Carlos Alcaraz's bid for a third straight title at the Madrid Open was ended by Andrey Rublev.

Russian seventh seed Rublev rallied from a set down in the quarter-final to win 4-6 6-3 6-2 and break Alcaraz's 14-match winning streak in the Spanish capital.

The 20-year-old second seed was aiming to become the first player to win three consecutive Madrid Open singles titles.

Rublev will face American 12th seed Taylor Fritz, who beat Argentina's Francisco Cerundolo 6-1 3-6 6-3 for his 250th tour-level win.

After a gruelling win against Jan-Lennard Struff that lasted just under three hours on Tuesday, Alcaraz struggled to find his best form against Rublev.

The two-time Grand Slam champion missed clay court events in Monte Carlo and Barcelona earlier this month due to a right arm injury and, despite taking the opening set, he looked tired against Rublev, who fired home 30 winners.

The win ends a four-match losing streak for Rublev, who has won just one ATP 1,000 title in his career.

Alcaraz's exit is further blow to Spain's home hopes in Madrid after five-time champion Rafael Nadal lost to Jiri Lehecka on Tuesday in what was likely to be the 37-year-old's last appearance at the tournament.

Meanwhile, world number two Jannik Sinner has withdrawn from the tournament with a right-hip injury, handing Thursday's opponent Felix Auger-Aliassime a walk-over into the semi-finals.

Canada's Auger-Aliassime will face either Lehecka or Russian third seed Daniil Medvedev, who play on Friday.

Sabalenka into first semi-final since Australian Open

In the women's draw, defending champion Aryna Sablenka breezed into the semi-finals with a straightforward 6-1 6-4 win over Russian teenager Mirra Andreeva.

The Belarusian second seed did not face a break point against the 17-year-old.

Sabalenka will play Elena Rybakina in her first semi-final since her Australian Open triumph in January.

Rybakina booked her last-four spot after fighting back from a set down to beat fellow Kazakh Yulia Putintseva 4-6 7-6 (7-4) 7-5.

The fourth seed, a Wimbledon winner in 2022, said it will be a "tough battle" against Sabalenka, who she defeated in the final of the Brisbane International earlier this year.

Sinner takes doctors' advice

Italian Sinner, 22, said he was "very sad to have to withdraw" from Madrid.

"My hip has been bothering me this week and has slowly been getting more painful. Taking the advice from the doctors we decided it's best to not play further and make it worse," he wrote on X.

He is due to feature at next week's Italian Open in Rome before heading to the second Grand Slam of the season - the French Open - in Paris on 26 May, having already won the Australian Open in January.