A new blackout, a blackout without remission, a defect that recurs as a result of his youth and inexperience, which this time was fatal. With a set-up of 4-1 and 30-0, 19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz lost the match and the Canadian Masters 1000 on his first sub. Premiere – although it was the second round of the Montreal tournament because he passed the first as the second seed – to forget against North American Tommy Paul (34 in the world), who won 6-7 (4), 7-6 and 6-3 in three hours and 20 minutes of play. Along the way, the Murcian squandered tie-break second set match ball. But the final highlights were the Alcaraz lagoon and the glory of Paul, who showed his best version of the season.
After a close first set, which Alcaraz solved with a string of geniuses in tie-break, the player from El Palmar combined his best tennis to get a comfortable 4-1 score. Flat strokes that touched the net and then polished the lines on the other side of the net. Carlitos on fire, high tennis and carats. “Play calmly, play calmly,” his coach Juan Carlos Ferrero repeated from the stands, now that he can talk to his students. And, as if it were a prelude to its end, the storm hit Alcaraz’s head and wrists. It cost him the horror to show himself from the first serve and they stopped entering discs deep just as dropshots suddenly seemed like a pipe dream. The frustrated and thin-waisted Spaniard has not changed his roadmap one iota – perhaps because with this tennis he has already won five tournaments (Umag in 2021 and Rio, Barcelona, Madrid and Miami in 2022) and reached two other finals (Hamburg and Umag in this course) at the same time that he was established in the tennis elite – and eventually gave up. That’s how Paul let him know in the second tie-breakWell, with a match point against, he scored another one of his howitzers as a favor to finish the second round take.
Wings, fuel and faith for the North American who really cleaned up the electrical and powerful service and who dragged his legs to lengthen the points until the little patience Alcaraz had left ran out. With a score of 5:2, the Murtian saved four match points, because he always played important points well (he added, for example, eight tie-breaks in a row with a victory until the last set). But in the fifth, with a score of 5:3, the charm came, and Paul won.
The noise around his chances of reaching the first place in the ATP rankings did not suit him, now he is ahead of Daniil Medved, Alexander Zverev and Rafa Nadal. He knew that if he won a third Masters 1000 this year, he would be 350 points behind Nadal and the US Open would have to be played. But it was a serious defeat, because he had not fallen so prematurely in a tournament since losing in the second round of the Monte Carlo tournament to Sebastian Korda; also a slap in the face, which, however, can be a good lesson to calm the nerves, to meet what comes from a different point of view. That is, next week the tournament in Cincinnati, and then the US Open, also on hard courts.
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