Carlos Alcaraz of Spain celebrates winning a game against Hubert Hurkacz of Poland during the Miami Open tennis tournament, Friday, April 1, 2022, in Miami Gardens, Fla. (AP Photo/Marta Lavandier)
- In the absence of Rafael Nadal, fellow teen phenom Carlos Alcaraz is the biggest deal in Barcelona
- Alcaraz will be the fourth teen to make the top 10 in the last 20 years, after Nadal, Djokovic and Murray
- The 18-year-old remains the title favorite; we break down the Barcelona Open odds for the semifinals and make predictions
Despite his lack of experience in big clay-court events, Carlos Alcaraz came into Barcelona as the betting favorite, followed closely behind by No. 1 seed Stefanos Tsitsipas.
And after eliminating Tsitsipas in the quarterfinals Friday, who is going to stop him?
Schwartzman vs Carreño Busta Odds
| Diego Schwartzman (ARG)||-1.5 (-111)||-128||O 22.5 (-105)|
| Pablo Carreño Busta (ESP)||+1.5 (-104)||+100||U 22.5 (-125)|
Odds as of April 22 at BetMGM
Schwartzman the Slight Favorite
One of the factors that may well come into play during Saturday’s semifinals is that all four participants had to play double-headers Thursday.
With Wednesday basically a washout, all had to win their third-round matches earlier in the day, before coming back later and win their quarterfinals.
And with a couple of exceptions, none of the matches were routine.
And all of the quarterfinals went the distance.
— ATP Tour (@atptour) April 22, 2022
Pablo Carreño Busta had by far the tougher day, with a three-setter against Lorenzo Sonego and a dramatic comeback win against No. 2 seed Casper Ruud of Norway later in the day.
He spent two hours, 42 minutes on court in the Sonego match, and just over three hours against Ruud.
Schwartzman vs Carreño Busta Head-to-Head
|29 (Aug. 16, 1992)||Age||30 (July 12, 1991)|
|Buenos Aires, Argentina||Birthplace||Gijon, Spain|
|4||Career ATP Singles Titles||6|
|No. 8 (Oct. 12, 2020)||Career High Ranking||No. 10 (Sept. 11, 2017)|
|No. 15||Current Ranking||No. 19|
|$11,758,986||Career Prize Money||$13,073,763|
|19-8||2022 Won/Loss record||14-7|
|1||Career Head to Head||2|
Carreño Busta has a slight edge over Diego Schwartzman in the head-to-head. But the key was a match exactly a year ago, in the Barcelona quarterfinals.
For the first time in his career, Diego #Schwartzman wins 19 out of the first 27 matches (70.4%) of the season 🤪
Peque overpasses Auger-Aliassime 3-6 6-2 6-3 and reaches his 24th career semifinal (15th on clay). Consolidates top 15 in the Ranking and the top 10 in the Race pic.twitter.com/uv6tnR7noD
— Mario Boccardi (@marioboc17) April 22, 2022
Conversely, Schwartzman spent a shade over two hours in each of his victories.
Schwartzman vs Carreño Busta Match History
|2021||Barcelona (QF)||Outdoor Clay||6-4, 3-6, 7-5||Carreño Busta|
|2017||Vienna (R16)||Indoor Hard||5-7, 6-1, 6-1||Schwartzman|
|2017||US Open (QF)||Outdoor Hard||6-4, 6-4, 6-2||Carreño Busta|
Rain Expected Early
Saturday’s weather is going to be better than Thursday.
Still, there’s a lot of rain expected in the area earlier in the day. That will slow down the clay court even more, making it the type of grinding match that almost universally favors Schwartzman.
Best Bet: Schwartzman in Three Sets (+333)
Alcaraz Looking for Crown In Barca
The teen phenom flamed out early at Monte Carlo in the wake of his headline-making title at the Masters 1000 in Miami a week before. But he has reset beautifully.
And in facing Stefanos Tsitsipas for the second time in a month, he defeated him for the second time in a month.
Carlos Alcaraz 6-4, 5-7, 6-2 Stefanos Tsitsipas.
That had a bit of everything. Aggro. A 7 minute end-of-set bathroom break (Alcaraz). A 3 minute one mid-set from Tsitsipas which meant docked points.
Alcaraz moves to 3-0 in the head to head yet it still feels like a rivalry.
— The Tennis Podcast (@TennisPodcast) April 22, 2022
Tsitsipas played through Sunday as he defended his title in Monte Carlo. Meanwhile, Alcaraz was out in his opening round, and came into Barcelona a lot fresher.
And there was…a lot going on.
Nothing wrong with Tsitsipas bludgeoning one at the body of Alcaraz, but standard etiquette is to put a hand up afterwards. Carlitos justified with the staredown.
I’m not complaining about some tension. It’s fun that way.pic.twitter.com/hHDNJDLlrJ
— Gill Gross 🇺🇦 (@Gill_Gross) April 22, 2022
If there was a takeaway, it’s that Alcaraz is no shrinking debutante violet.
Alcaraz vs De Minaur Odds
| Carlos Alcaraz (ESP)||-5.5 (+100)||-1000||O 19.5 (-125)|
| Alex de Minaur (AUS)||+5.5 (-143)||+550||U 19.5 (-111)|
A Very Young Top-10 debut
On Monday, he’ll be in the top 10. And there is a certain symmetry
MIND. BLOWN. 🤯
Same Place. Same Day. Different 18yr old Spaniard 🇪🇸
April 25th 2005 – @RafaelNadal breaks into the Top 10 after winning in Barcelona
— ATP Tour (@atptour) April 22, 2022
It’s unlikely to be top of mind for him, though.
Alcaraz vs De Minaur Head-to-Head
|18 (May 5, 2003)||Age||23 (Feb. 17, 1999)|
|El Palmar, Murcia, Spain||Birthplace||Sydney, Australia|
|3||Career ATP Singles Titles||5|
|No. 11 (April 4, 2022||Career High Ranking||No. 15 (June 28, 2021)|
|No. 11||Current Ranking||No. 25|
|$3,833,917||Career Prize Money||$6,540,585|
|21-3||2022 Won/Loss record||9-7|
|2||Career Head to Head||2|
De Minaur (Relatively) Well Rested
While all the drama was going on elsewhere, De Minaur skated. He won his third-round match after Lloyd Harris retired, having lost the first set 6-0.
And his three-set win over Cameron Norrie was relatively routine.
Given the overwhelming odds in Alcaraz’s favour to win the match, there are some side props that might provide better value.
A combination of De Minaur’s freshness and primo defence on what should be a slow court – and Alcaraz’s potential nerves – might prolong this a little.
Alcaraz should win in straight sets (-286). But it might take some work.
Best Bet: Over 19.5 Games (-125)
Stephanie gets the straight dope from the tennis insiders. On court, she has represented her country internationally. A BA in journalism led to years on the MLB beat and a decade covering tennis globally. She’s written for Postmedia, the Guardian, the New York Times and also publishes OpenCourt.ca.