Carlos Alcaraz's nine-match winning streak will be put to the test when he faces idol Rafael Nadal in the semifinals of the 2022 BNP Paribas Open. The 18-year-old beat defending champion Cameron Norrie 6-4, 6-3 in the quarterfinals and will attempt to make his maiden Masters 1000 final at Indian Wells on Saturday.
This will be the second meeting between the two Spaniards. The 21-time Grand Slam champion bagged a straight-sets win over Alcaraz in Madrid last year.
Nadal, who won his first Major at the 2005 Roland Garros as a 19-year-old, recently said that he sees glimpses of himself in Alcaraz. Responding to Nadal's comments in a press conference after beating Norrie, Alcaraz admitted to feeling "pretty good" at the tennis great's praise.
"It's pretty good," Alcaraz remarked. "I mean, when he was 18 or 19 years old he got a Grand Slam, so it's good to know that Rafa said that he sees himself in me when he was my age. But, yeah, it's quite cool."
The World No. 19 emphasized that it wouldn't be easy to take the court against someone he's looked up to as a child. Nevertheless, he revealed that he was looking forward to the opportunity and believes it would be a great learning experience for him.
"It's amazing to play against Rafa," the Spaniard said.. "He's my idol since I was a kid, so it's never easy to play against him. I think it's going to be a great match. I think it's a great experience for me to meet him in Masters 1000 semifinal here at Indian Wells, but, yeah, I'm going to have fun out there and enjoy every single second of the match. It's a very special experience for me."
"It's going to be a tough match, everybody knows how Rafa has a thousand lives in a match" - Carlos Alcaraz
During the press conference, Carlos Alcaraz also expressed his delight at making his first semifinal at a Masters 1000 event. He heaped praise on the picturesque setting of the tournament and described his feat at Indian Wells as "unbelievable".
"I'm really happy to be able to play my first semifinal in a Masters 1000 here in Indian Wells," the Spaniard said. "Amazing place to be. Amazing place to play. I mean, it's an unbelievable achievement for me."
Alcaraz, who is yet to drop a set this fortnight, expects a tough match against Rafael Nadal.
"I think I'm playing at a good level in this tournament. Yeah, I know it's going to be a really tough match, but everybody knows how Rafa's game is and he has a thousand lives in the match. When he's down, he can turn the game around," he added.
Also Check Out: Indian Wells Masters 2022 Results