Alcaraz sails into Indian Wells quarter-finals as Draper retires

Top seed Carlos Alcaraz advanced to the Indian Wells quarter-finals on Tuesday when Britain’s Jack Draper retired in the fourth-round matchup with a right flank injury.

Spaniard Alcaraz, who could return to world number one with a third ATP Masters 1000 title this week, led 6-2, 2-0 when Draper, who was being treated by a physio, stopped after 46 minutes on the court.

“It’s not the way someone wants to win a match because something is wrong,” Alcaraz said. “All I can say is that I hope he gets better soon.”

19-year-old Alcaraz became the youngest ever male number one last year after his premature triumph at the US Open.

But after a stomach injury hampered him late last year and a leg injury missed the Australian Open, he fell behind Serbian superstar Novak Djokovic.

Djokovic is out this week as he is banned from entering the United States because he refused Covid-19 vaccinations.

Alcaraz said he was focused on winning his first Indian Wells title and let the rankings take care of themselves.

He returned to action last month with a win in Buenos Aires and a runner-up in Rio de Janeiro, where he suffered a hamstring strain that prompted him to withdraw from Acapulco.

He looked in great form at Indian Wells, taking a 2-0 lead in the first set after running 40-0 in the first game on the pitch.

“I felt the ball very well,” Alcaraz said. “I am very happy with this part.

“I would say that I came back well, I threw great shots. I ended the match with confidence in my shots so that I can go into the next round with more confidence.”

Draper, whose pitching speed dropped and his movements slowed down, was spotted by a physio between sets and cut him off, winning just one point in the first two games of the second.

It was a disappointing end of the week for Draper, who defeated childhood hero Andy Murray in the third round.



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