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By Richard Pagliaro | Monday, March 28, 2022


Carlos Alcaraz showed the full shot spectrum topping 2014 US Open champion Marin Cilic 6-4, 6-4 to soar into the Miami Open fourth round.

Photo credit: Matthew Stockman/Getty

Playing over 6'6" Marin Cilic's head is about as easy as leaping the life-size Dan Marino statue outside of Miami's Hard Rock Stadium.

Eighteen-year-old Carlos Alcaraz is player already accustomed to reaching rare air on the ATP Tour.

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Alcaraz showed the full shot spectrum, including some exquisite lobs over the 2014 US Open champion's head, conquering Cilic 6-4, 6-4 to soar into the Miami Open fourth round.

The Rio champion improved to 14-2 on the season avenging his three-set Estoril Open loss to Cilic last year.

Alcaraz's physicality, speed around the court and his skill mixing his sledgehammer forehand with feather duster drop shots were all evident in today's 95-minute victory. The Spanish teenager's court craft, all-court acumen and his connection to the Grandstand crowd were all on display as well.

Empowered by his run to his first Masters 1000 semifinal in Indian Wells, Alcaraz defended well coming out of the corners, adopted an aggressive return position and controlled the center of the court when he had time.

Alcaraz broke first for 2-1 and backed up the break at love. Serving for the set, Alcaraz came back from 15-30 down to build a one-set lead.

Applying exceptional feel from his forehand drop shot, Alcaraz dragged Cilic forward a few times only to tease him with that looping topspin lob in the corner.

The Indian Wells semifinalist heard the roar of support from fans, including one guy sitting behind the baseline clinging to his Stella Artois and repeatedly yelling "Carlito's Way! Carlito's Way!" as Alcaraz reached closing time.

It's uncertain if Alcaraz heard the fan but he saw the finish line and streaked through winning three games to finish an impressive win.

Next up for Alcaraz is either Roland Garros finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas or Alex de Minaur.

Last September, a 55th-ranked Alcaraz Alcaraz stunned the third-seeded Tsitsipas 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(2), 0-6, 7-6(5) in a coming-of-age US Open third-round conquest.

The 18-year-old Spaniard made history as the youngest man to defeat a Top-3 US Open seed since 1973—and the youngest man to reach the round of 16 in Flushing Meadows since a 17-year-old Michael Chang and 18-year-old Pete Sampras did it back in 1989.


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