Sunday, September 25

Alcaraz already flies over the grass


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Carlos Alcaraz’s debut in the round of 16 at Wimbledon was a mystery. The young tennis player from Murcia, who does not stop treading new heights in his early career, had never gone so far on the legendary London grass. Just a year ago, in his debut at the tournament, he fell in the second round against Russian Daniil Medvedev, current number one in the world. He had also never been placed against the German Oscar Otte, a giant of 193 centimeters and number 36 in the ATP ranking. Not even in terms of sensations could anything be made clear before this unprecedented duel, since the Spanish’s first two games in this edition had a very different development.

He suffered martyrdom in the first round against fellow German Jan-Lennard Struff, in a clash that lasted five sets, while he managed to beat Dutchman Griekspoor on the fast track.

Against Otte, in his third match, Alcaraz showed that in adapting to green, one of the greatest difficulties in the cathedral of tennis, he progresses adequately. So much so that he started the game by overwhelming his rival, who was overwhelmed by the conviction and drive of the Spaniard. The first eight points of the match, which began with a break in the German’s serve, came from Alcaraz, who thus conveyed a clear message to his rival: he did not want any more complications than necessary.

Once the initial surprise was overcome, Otte grabbed the serve, his best virtue, to contain his volcanic opponent. With a peculiar style, hitting the ball on its way up, the German added his services to stay alive in the set and get his head out in the middle of the tsunami of tennis displayed by Alcaraz. At least until the ninth game, in which the number seven in the world broke his serve again to score the first round. On serve, on return, from the back of the court or in the net, the Spaniard showed no weakness.

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Carlos felt so comfortable that already in the second set he even allowed himself the luxury of giving up a point to his rival that the chair umpire had decided to repeat, definitively winning over an audience that did not need much either to turn upside down with the last great appearance of tennis. world. As in the first set, the Spaniard broke Otte’s first serve to quickly get the second set back on track. The German, who arrived at the match with little physical demand after overcoming the first two rounds in just two hours of play, was never able to keep up with the pace of an unleashed Alcaraz and killer instincts. Only with his serve did he avoid the Spanish tennis player’s blank set.

In the third set the only thing that could endanger Alcaraz’s victory was relaxation, but a new initial ‘break’ by the Murcian removed any doubt. Ravenous and relentless, he kept his foot on the accelerator to finish off Otte’s ordeal, a helpless victim of his staggering growth. The ticket to the round of 16 and, above all, the way to get it, puts the Spaniard among the possible candidates for the title in London. Quite a surprise considering his inexperience on grass and his recent difficulties in the exhibition matches at Hurlingham, the prelude to this appointment at the ‘All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club’. But the one from El Palmar is like that, he learns and improves by the minute, leaving behind one milestone after another with amazing ease.

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