Alcaraz Notches 50th Win, But It's Not All Plain Sailing

  • Posted: Aug 16, 2023

Alcaraz Notches 50th Win, But It’s Not All Plain Sailing

Spaniard improved to 12-0 in his opening-round matches this year, but only after a major scare

Carlos Alcaraz has captured his 50th match win of the year in personal-best time after defeating Jordan Thompson 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 in his opening match at the Western & Southern Open Wednesday night.

But the speedy season journey to the half-century mark stands in stark contrast to what was generally a flat performance in the first two sets of a rain-interrupted match against the World No. 55 net-rushing Australian, who took the second set after having had game points for a 5-2 lead in the first.

It took Alcaraz, who made 26 unforced errors in the first set, until the start of the third set shortly before 12:30 a.m. to find his spark after his earlier sluggish performance, which also kept fans in a subdued mood for large portions of the match.

The Official App Of Tennis | Download ATP WTA Live App

“It wasn’t an easy match but I found my best level at the end,” Alcaraz said. “We were waiting around all day to play the match and then when you step on the court you have to start with the rain, so it wasn’t easy.

“But you have to find a way to win these matches in this type of situation.”

Coach Juan Carlos Ferrero, who missed his charge’s below-par quarter-final run last week in Toronto in his first outing since winning Wimbledon, is on deck in Ohio this week and will be looking for ways to get Alcaraz back to his best as he seeks to defend his hold on World No. 1 against a challenging Novak Djokovic this week.

The match, which began Tuesday night and finished just after 1 a.m. Wednesday morning, meandered over three hours and two minutes, due in part to the match clock continuing to run during a 20-minute rain delay at 1-1 in the first set when the players remained on court. Alcaraz failed to convert four break points either side of the interruption and needed a ninth break point in the eighth game of the first set to break through for the first time.

He finished the match 5/17 on break chances after breaking Thompson in the final game and by playing significantly better tennis than in the first two sets. The Australian challenged Alcaraz throughout the match with 52 net approaches, of which he won 30.

The Cincinnati top seed reached the 50-wins milestone in his 12th tournament of the year. Last season his 50th match win came in the semi-finals of the US Open, his 14th tournament of the season. 

The 20-year-old Spaniard, who improved to 50-5 on the year, is looking for his seventh title of 2023 to add to crowns won in Buenos Aires, Indian Wells, Barcelona, Madrid, Queen’s and Wimbledon.

You May Also Like:

Inside Alcaraz vs. Djokovic Battle For World No. 1 In Cincinnati

Alcaraz must reach the final this week at the Lindner Family Tennis Centre to be guaranteed of continuing his run atop the Pepperstone ATP Rankings for a 34th week on Monday. Anything less than a run to the final leaves open several scenarios under which Djokovic could reclaim top spot.

On the 28-player list of most weeks spent at No. 1, Alcaraz is already in 16th position. He needs another 11 weeks to move past Gustavo Kuerten in 13th position.

Alcaraz awaits a third-round showdown with the winner of Frenchman Ugo Humbert and American Tommy Paul, who upset the reigning US Open champion last week in Toronto.

Source link