Carlos Alcaraz Powers Through ‘Bee Invasion’, Alexander Zverev To Reach Indian Wells Semi-Finals


Defending champion Carlos Alcaraz battled swarming bees and Alexander Zverev to set up a semi-final showdown with Jannik Sinner in Indian Wells on Thursday. World number two Alcaraz suffered a blow to his forehead and had to leave the court temporarily as his quarter-final against Germany's Zverev was halted after just two games due to a “bee invasion”. When play resumed after a delay of nearly two hours, he looked in no bad shape, winning 6-3, 6-1, avenging his quarterfinal loss to Zverev at the Australian Open. Got it.

Sinner defeated Jiri Lehecka of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-3 to enter the semi-finals and take his match win streak to 19.

Sinner's winning streak stretches back to last year's Davis Cup final and includes a perfect 16-0 record in 2024.

In Saturday's semi-finals he will look to upset Alcaraz, who defeated him at the same stage last year on the way to the title in the California desert.

Alcaraz said he never imagined he would have to hide among a swarm of bees to defend his title.

He and Zverev were only two games into their match when bees interrupted the proceedings, with Alcaraz attacked by the insects after being stung on the forehead.

The bees had surrounded the remote-controlled “spider cam” and Alcaraz and Zverev had already run for cover when chair umpire Mohammed Lahayani announced “Ladies and gentlemen, play has been suspended due to an invasion of bees. “

A bee expert was called in and the bees collected on the aerial camera were removed with a live-capture vacuum.

“It was strange, I've never seen anything like it on a tennis court,” Alcaraz said. “When we ran out of the court, we were watching Invasion of Bees on TV and we laughed a lot about it.

“It was fun for me. It won't be remembered for the tennis, but for that.”

afraid of bees

The players were brought back onto the court to warm up, although Alcaraz urged bee specialist Lance Davis to get rid of some of the ones wandering around the players' chairs and equipment.

“I'm not going to lie,” Alcaraz said, “I'm a little afraid of bees.”

But he no longer had any problems – with the bees or Zverev.

He said he was pleased with how he managed to keep his focus during the delay, as well as his excellent return game against the big-serving Zverev.

Alcaraz said she “probably played one of my best return matches in my tennis career.

“I've tried everything possible,” said Alcaraz, who is seeking his first title since defeating Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon last July.

He can expect a tough challenge against Sinner, who won his first Grand Slam title in Melbourne and followed that up with the trophy in Rotterdam.

In windy conditions on court two, Sinner held strong control, breaking Lehka quickly in each set and saving the only break point she faced in the match.

“Today was definitely a different situation,” Sinner said. “It was windy at the beginning, but I handled it very well.

“He's an incredible player with a lot of potential with both swings. He was serving really well. Obviously I'm happy with the performance.”

Two other top-10 players meet when fourth-ranked Daniil Medvedev – who was runner-up at Alcaraz last year – takes on seventh-ranked Holger Rune – who saved a match point on his way to victory over 2022 Indian Wells winner Taylor Fritz Had saved. Wednesday.

The winner of that match will face Tommy Paul of America, who defeated the ninth-ranked Norwegian with a 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 victory over Casper Ruud.

Paul fired 35 winners, saving two break points before capturing his second match point while serving for the match.

“It's amazing,” said Paul, who had dropped four of his previous five meetings with Rudd. “I'm really excited with the way I'm playing.”

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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