C. Alcaraz b  S. Tsitsipas 6-4 5-7 6-2
What do 20 May 2002 have in common with 25 April 2022? These are the dates on which Roger Federer and Carlos Alcaraz entered the top ten for the first time; Monday also the ranking will certify a reality now accepted by all: Carlos Alcaraz Garfia will be a top ten, presumably to remain so for a long time.
A question arises at the end of this match: in the first 60 minutes of the game we saw Alcaraz playing in a classic state of grace or we should get used to what we saw today? In this second case, there is serious trouble for the rest of the circuit. In any case, impressive demonstration of strength by the Spaniard who joked in the first and third a Tsitsipas who can not be reproached too much.
But let’s move on to the news: this was the game everyone was waiting for as soon as the tournament draw came out. After the excellent forfeits, the rain and in general many non-transcendental first round matches, the early final has arrived. The risk of not getting there was considerable, if Tsitsipas hadn’t managed to finish his match last night the tournament would have been greatly impacted, but in the end everything is fine what ends well. Two of the most fit players of the moment face each other, respectively numbers 2 and 3 of the Race to Turin and who in the previous round played this morning did not waste energy, little more than a competitive training.
First confrontation on clay and in which the Greek – theoretically he should start favored – given his predisposition for the surface, and also by virtue of as stated by Ferrero in recent days. In the two previous matches it was Alcaraz who prevailed, but in both cases they were games on American hardcourt.
The two start very centered in their batting games and are determined not to retreat at the cost of playing shots in full counterbalance when leaving the service. We imagine the field should tend to be slow, we are in the evening, with humidity and the rain of recent days, we imagine it makes itself felt. But the reality that if we were colored the surface blue we could perfectly believe that this could be a match played on concrete. Quick points and very few prolonged exchanges. And given the precedents this could be bad news for Tsitsipas, who instead is more comfortable being able to maneuver..
Thus one arrives without a shot hitting the 4-4, where an unlucky rebound and two errors by the Greek send the Spaniard to triple break point. The Murcia native closes on the second attempt with a muffled applause. Already four dampenings played by Carlos: all winners and all absolutely illegible for an astonished Tsitsipas.
At the moment of closing the set Alcaraz does not tremble at all, three first serve on the field, one of which is even followed by a delicious serve and volley. On the second attempt the Spaniard closes the set in the face of an exasperated Tsitsipas who throws a full-arm passer-by to the Spaniard’s body. Carlos dodges him like a boxer and at the change of pitch reserves a nice look at the Greek who, however, apologizes, as evidenced by the images.
Second set that starts along the lines of the first, in which Alcaraz in general always tries to push right from the answer and press the Greek to encourage him to go in a hurry and send him out of control; in the third game the strategy works, and the Spaniard hits like a hornet one Tsitsipas who tries to resist but is literally overwhelmed; the Spanish is on fire, look at the last two points of the third game to believe. And the more you go on the more what should have been the match of the tournament turns into a slaughter, with Tsitsipas trying to let go of his arm but finds himself incinerated by the damps of Alcaraz, who is also lucky when he finds the line for the ball of the double break.
An impressive show of strength, against the fresh winner of Monte Carlo and one of the candidates for victory at Roland Garros. It will be hard for Tsitsipas to digest this defeat from a mental point of view, which could leave some aftermath.
Honor to the Greek at least try to limit the damage and on 4-1 and service Alcaraz at least remains in the game and at least manages to recover one of the two breaks. A break granted by Alcaraz for too much exuberance in part, but credit to Stefanos for staying there, hoping that he will spend the night. And actually the Greek could be right: incredibly when no one would have bet a euro r on itiesce to recover the second break and serve for 4-4. In English they would say that Carlos had entered a purple patch, which didn’t last an hour. At the stroke of the game hour a tennis match began and the show of the boy from Murcia ended. Now the exchanges are getting longer and Carlos’ burning accelerations no longer find the field. The exchanges are lengthened and loaded with top spin, according to a scheme more suited to the Greek. Symbolically, Alcaraz’s first mistake also arrives at 4-4, after 8 winning drop shots. In the following games Tsitsipas enters the game definitively and even reaches set point to play on the second of Alcaraz, who brutally misses a forehand that goes out abundantly long.
Ceteris paribus it seems to see the same situation seen in the match with Kwon, in which even there Alcaraz had been close to perfection for a set and a half, only to then bring the Korean back into the game.
Fortunately for the rest of the circuit Alcaraz’s tennis mix still seems a bit unstable and the risky game of the Murciano tennis player makes them prone to going over the top; there is still some work to do for Ferrero, but we are sure that the former Roland Garros 2003 champion will know where to put his hands. In any case for a set and a half we saw illegal tennis, such flashes were worthy of the Federer 2004-2007.
Thus we go to the third set, with Tsitsipas on duty, who must immediately face a break point which this time he uses his head, without exaggerating, but remaining in the exchange; as also suggested by the stands with “la cabeza en su sitio”Shouted by the spectators. The reset seems to have worked for Carlos, who as if by magic seems to have regained his polish and flies two breaks ahead again when in the stands a hint of ola starts on the notes of YMCA, while Tsitsipas also tries the card of the toilet break to break the rhythm, which though it costs him two points for overstepping the allowed timewhile the audience is clamoring for “el rosco“(The equivalent of bagel). But instead what happens is that Tsitsipas manages to keep his service game and arrives two you want to break the Spaniard’s serve, however, canceled in both cases with the serve and volley and finally collects the 5-1 with a backhand down the line. space. In fact the game ends here, with the Spaniard ending with a flourish with a short ball and a descent to the net and in the hot interview he thanked the audience for supporting him after he had lost the second set in that way.
We close with a statistical note: in the first segment of the match in which Alcaraz dominated, the Murciano player played 8 short balls, in which he always won the exchange; from then on he played 9 more, of which only 3 winners, a sign that even tactically his ideas had gradually become confused.