Miami, March 29 (IANS) The defending champion and World no. 1 Carlos Alcaraz produced a scintillating performance to enter the quarterfinal of the Miami Open, beating American Tommy Paul 6-4, 6-4 to earn his ninth consecutive win.
The Spaniard is aiming to become the youngest player to win the 'Sunshine Double' this week after lifting his third ATP Masters 1000 crown in Indian Wells earlier this month.
"I'm going to be focused on me, just on me, to play my game. As I said, I have a lot of time to enjoy, to play, to relax, to smile on court. That's the key of everything for me," said Alcaraz, who lifted his third career Masters 1000 two weeks ago in Indian Wells, after his game on Tuesday night.
"I try not to think about that but it's difficult. You know, it's something that I really want it. I want to be part of those few players that made the Sunshine Double," he added.
The 19-year-old, who needs to capture his third title of the season in Miami to remain at No. 1 in the ATP Rankings, will have to face another American player, World No. 10 Taylor Fritz in the quarterfinals. This will be the first time they play each other.
"I played a really great match and I hope to play the same level in the quarterfinal. I moved well and defended well and I counter-attacked and I think if I play at that same level I will have a lot of chances to get through," Alcaraz said.
Paul defeated Alcaraz in their only previous ATP head-to-head meeting in Montreal last year and entered the clash high in confidence, having earned 16 tour-level wins this season.
Competing in the fourth round in Miami for the first time, the Australian Open semifinalist, Paul, was unable to match Alcaraz's intensity, however, with the Spaniard forcing the 16th seed into errors with his depth and weight of shot from the baseline.
Alcaraz struck the ball with full commitment, hitting 22 winners compared to nine from Paul and was sharp moving forward, winning 12 of 13 net points to improve to 17-1 on the season.