After beating Andy Murray on Wednesday evening in Vienna, Carlos Alcaraz put both arms in the air and nodded his head in approval of his performance. The 18-year-old had earned his revenge.
The #NextGenATP star, who lost to the former World No. 1 in Indian Wells earlier this month, defeated Murray 6-3, 6-4 to reach the quarter-finals of the Erste Bank Open. The scoreline appears straightforward, but the action was anything but.
Alcaraz needed to summon all his skill and fighting spirit to claw past the Scot in a two-hour, six-minute battle that featured 25 break points and seven service breaks. The Spaniard will next face third seed Matteo Berrettini.
“For me it’s a great feeing to play against Andy Murray and to be able to beat him,” Alcaraz said in his post-match interview. “I played really, really well and I’m just really happy for the performance today.”
It was clear from the first game of the match that Murray would be under pressure, as his teenage opponent broke his serve immediately. Alcaraz was intent on punishing the ball and controlling rallies, especially on points played behind the wild card’s second serve.
Murray fought hard and led 4-2 in the second set, using every opportunity he had to attack short balls, move forward and beat this year’s Umag titlist to go on offense. But Alcaraz had too much firepower on the day, as evidenced by the penultimate point of the match, when he finished a physical rally with a booming crosscourt forehand winner.
Alcaraz, a pupil of another former World No. 1, Juan Carlos Ferrero, certainly did not take Murray by surprise. When ATPTour.com asked the Scot in August about current players who could potentially reach No. 1 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, Murray mentioned him.
“I think Alcaraz is really, really good,” Murray said at the time. “I think he’s got a good chance at it.”
The 46-time tour-level titlist was able to battle past Alcaraz in three sets in Indian Wells in their first ATP Head2Head clash. But indoors in Vienna, the #NextGenATP star showed he is getting better by the day.
“Indian Wells was the first time that I met Andy Murray on court and now I knew a little bit more [about] Andy Murray, so I just knew his game, how to play,” Alcaraz said. “I was just trying to play aggressive, not let him play his game.”[FOLLOW ACTION]
Alcaraz’s next opponent, third-seeded Berrettini, rallied past Indian Wells finalist Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-7(5), 6-2, 6-3. The Italian, who became the sixth player to qualify for the Nitto ATP Finals on Monday, saved all three break points he faced to advance.
The 25-year-old blasted 22 aces — including two on the last two points of the match — to earn his two-hour, five-minute victory. Berrettini will try to replicate that serving performance in his first ATP Head2Head meeting with Alcaraz.
Did You Know?
Alcaraz is the second-youngest player to defeat Murray. Borna Coric, who was 18 when he beat the Scot in Dubai in 2015, was the only player to do it at a younger age.