Auger-Aliassime into Madrid Open semis without playing after Sinner exits with hip injury

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Felix Auger-Aliassime has caught another break due to opponent injury, advancing to the semifinals at the Madrid Open.

Top seed Jannik Sinner of Italy has withdrawn with a hip injury, tournament organizers announced Wednesday.

Sinner and Montreal’s Auger-Aliassime, who downed fifth seed Casper Ruud 6-4, 7-5 on Tuesday, were scheduled to meet in Thursday’s quarterfinals. The Canadian advances to the semifinals on Friday against third seed Daniil Medvedev of Russia or 30th seed Jiri Lehecka of the Czech Republic.

Sinner recovered from dropping Tuesday’s first set to beat 16th seed Karen Khachanov of Russia 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 at the ATP Masters 1000 event.

“Very sad to have to withdraw from my next match here in Madrid,” Sinner wrote on social media. “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.”

Auger-Aliassime, 23, has won both his previous matches against Sinner, including a Round of 16 matchup in Madrid in 2022.

WATCH | Auger-Aliassime beats Ruud, advancing to Madrid quarterfinals:

Félix Auger-Aliassime advances to the quarterfinals at the Madrid Open

Montreal’s Félix Auger-Aliassime earned a berth in the quarterfinals with a 6-4,7-5 victory over Norway’s Casper Ruud on Tuesday at the Madrid Open.

On Monday, Auger-Aliassime gained a quarterfinal berth in a walkover after Czech opponent Jakub Menšík retired from their match with the former leading 6-1, 1-0.

Jakub Menšík retired with a right elbow injury in the second round at a recent tournament in Dubai, and had tape on his right arm between sets Monday.

WATCH | Auger-Aliassime posts Monday walkover win against Czech Menšík:

Félix Auger-Aliassime advances at Madrid Open

Montreal’s Félix Auger-Aliassime claimed an easy 6-1, 1-0 victory Monday at the Madrid Open after Czech player Jakub Menšík retired due to injury in the second set.

Earlier this month, Auger-Aliassime was lined up to play two-time Grand Slam champion Carlos Alcaraz in the second round of the Monte Carlo Masters in Monaco but Alcaraz pulled out of the tourney with muscle injury to his right forearm.

Auger-Aliassime, a former world No. 6 who entered the tournament ranked 35th, has looked like his old self in Madrid after a tepid start to the season.

He entered the tournament with a pedestrian 11-10 record on the year but hasn’t dropped a set in Madrid since the opening of his first-round match against Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka.

Alcaraz outplayed following strong start

Elsewhere, Alcaraz’s bid to win a third straight Madrid Open title ended with a three-set loss to Andrey Rublev in the quarterfinals.

The second-seeded Spaniard got off to a good start but then was outplayed by the seventh-seeded Rublev, losing 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 at the Caja Magica center court.

Alcaraz, who had already struggled in a three-set win over Jan-Lennard Struff on Tuesday, looked out of sorts and was mistake-prone toward the end.

It was his first tournament after missing Monte Carlo and Barcelona because of a right forearm injury. The 20-year-old had arrived in Madrid saying he would be happy to play three or four matches in the Spanish capital.

Already in a hole in the third set, Alcaraz pressed the forearm during a stopover. He was wearing a long sleeve over the injured arm.

Alcaraz was trying to become the first player to win the clay-court tournament three straight times. He hadn’t lost on Spanish soil since 2021.

Rublev, seeking his second ATP 1000 title after winning Monte Carlo last year, will play either Taylor Fritz or Francisco Cerundolo.

Staying calm was key to victory

The world No. 8 was solid from the start and overpowered Alcaraz with 30 winners.

“The serve saved me a lot of times today,” Rublev said. “The key was I was completely calm the whole match. I did not say one word, even if I was losing. That was the key and I was able to serve even better near the end. In the beginning, I was not serving that well but little by little, after set one, I served better and better and finished really well.”

Elsewhere, fourth-seeded Elena Rybakina saved two match points en route to a 4-6, 7-6 (4), 7-5 win over Yulia Putintseva to reach the women’s semifinals.

The 2022 Wimbledon champion rallied while trailing 5-2 in the third set. She also trailed by an early break in the second set.

Rybakina has won eight matches in a row and has a tour-leading 30-4 record this season. She has 16 straight clay wins and is trying to reach her sixth final of the year.

Rybakina will next face either defending champion Aryna Sabalenka or 17-year-old Mirra Andreeva.

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