Can anyone stop Carlos Alcaraz from successfully defending his Mutua Madrid Open crown?

Karen Khachanov will take his shot at eliminating the Spanish star on Tuesday at the Caja Magica. The 10th seed is fresh off a Top 10 win over Andrey Rublev in the fourth round.

Even with Alcaraz in the top half of the draw, there is opportunity for the other quarter-finalists in the half. Seventeenth seed Borna Coric and lucky loser Daniel Altmaier will meet for the first time for a spot in the last four. previews the first two Madrid quarter-finals.

[1] Carlos Alcaraz vs. [10] Karen Khachanov

Alcaraz produced a ruthless performance on Tuesday to dismiss former World No. 2 and defending Madrid finalist Alexander Zverev 6-1, 6-2. It was an even more lopsided victory than the one the Spaniard earned in last year’s 6-3, 6-1 final at the Caja Magica.

The Alcaraz train is rolling down hill. Will Khachanov be able to stop it in its tracks?

History is not on the 26-year-old’s side. Alcaraz has won both of the pair’s previous ATP Head2Head meetings, which came last year at Roland Garros and Hamburg. In the five sets they played, Khachanov won just 11 games.

But the 2018 Rolex Paris Masters champion has consistently raised his level on the world’s biggest stages. He earned ATP Masters 1000 glory in Bercy and more recently advanced to the semi-finals at the US Open last year and the Australian Open and the Miami Open presented by Itau this year.

Entering the week, Khachanov owned a 1-5 record in Madrid. Now the 10th seed is into the quarter-finals after eliminating fifth seed and doubles partner Andrey Rublev.

“In Madrid it’s always a little bit [of a] different feeling. The altitude [has an impact] and the balls are flying much more,” Khachanov said in his on-court interview after defeating Rublev. “I think the years before I was trying to play the same way as I was playing the other years. But I think this year I changed a little bit the tactics and the strategy and I think it’s paying off. Hopefully I can continue that way.”

Khachanov will need to change something against Alcaraz, the defending champion who is now 26-2 on the season. In the 19-year-old’s past 15 victories, he has lost a set just once.

“I will try to play this level. I will try my best level. I have to show that in the quarter-finals,” Alcaraz said in his on-court interview. “But obviously playing this match gives me a lot of confidence into the quarter-finals, so let’s see what happens.”

One thing to watch is how well Khachanov is able to control play during his service games. In the pair’s first two clashes, he managed to win less than 52 per cent of his service points. That number was 74 per cent against Rublev on Tuesday.

Alcaraz is trying to become the first player this season to claim two Masters 1000 crowns. If he manages the feat, the Spaniard will reclaim No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings from Novak Djokovic after Rome if he plays a match at the Foro Italico.

[17] Borna Coric vs. [LL] Daniel Altmaier

Six years ago Borna Coric lost in the final round of qualifying in Madrid to Mikhail Kukushkin. However, then 19, the Croatian was slotted into the main draw as a lucky loser. Coric went on to upset then-World No. 1 Andy Murray and reach his first clay-court Masters 1000 quarter-final.

It is fitting that in his second Madrid quarter-final, Coric will face a lucky loser when he battles German Daniel Altmaier. It will be the pair’s first ATP Head2Head clash.

Coric needed three hours and 28 minutes to defeat home favourite Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-7(5), 6-3, 7-6(5) for a place in the last eight. The longest best-of-three match of the season lasted three hours and 31 minutes between Hubert Hurkacz and Thanasi Kokkinakis in Miami.

“I just need to recover first. That’s going to be my focus today and then obviously for tomorrow I need to go out there and I need to play even better than today,” Coric said. “I need to serve better. I think my serve was not doing I would say a lot of damage today. But first I need to recover and then I’m going to focus for tomorrow.”

One advantage he will have over Altmaier is experience. Coric won his first Masters 1000 title last year in Cincinnati. This is Altmaier’s first trip this far into a Masters 1000 tournament.

But Altmaier, who has a one-handed backhand, will be confident having not lost a set in the main draw. The 24-year-old is up to No. 61 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.