Tuesday, January 19

Challenger of Alicante: Alcaraz grows thanks to titles | sports


While Spanish tennis is still savoring Rafael Nadal’s latest Parisian success, a young player continues to progress in parallel, who, if things are not twisted too much, is destined to reap the national leadership of the Mallorcan in the future. It grows and grows Carlos Alcaraz, tennis player with a formidable future and a winner this Sunday at the challenger from Alicante. The 17-year-old from Murcia beat Pedro Martínez in the final (7-6 (6) and 6-3, in 1h 43m) and won his second consecutive trophy after the one obtained last weekend in Barcelona.

Then, seven days ago, his victory was buried by the cataract of praise that Nadal received in Paris, but Alcaraz continues to signal and illuminate his name. With Alicante, there are already three titles in the category challenger –The first was in Trieste, Italy, on August 30– which accompany a fabulous season in which he has definitely uncovered and confirmed all the good omens that have been made about him for a long time: Alcaraz is, in capital letters, the name to follow in the medium and perhaps short term.

From the hand of his coach, Juan Carlos Ferrero, the Murcian started the course with the purpose of making his way into the ranking and ascend naturally. In February he achieved his first victory on the ATP circuit, at the age of 16 in the Rio de Janeiro tournament, against Albert Ramos, and after starting the year in 490th place he has managed to climb to 136th. The interruption due to the pandemic did not stop him and on his return he has been collecting awards, three at the moment, and the final of another challenger in Cordenons.

His progression allowed him to enter the qualifying phase of a Grand Slam for the first time, at Roland Garros, but there he was stopped by Aleksandar Vukic in the first season. However, despite the jug of cold water Alcaraz has kept pace and continues to link merit triumphs. If last weekend he beat Damir Dzumhur (23rd in the world a couple of years ago, 113th today) to celebrate in Barcelona, ​​this time he beat Martínez, who had just reached the third round at the Bois de Boulogne and in January he was also seen in Melbourne, where he reached the second.

Alcaraz did it in his style, with determination from the bottom and determination to tackle the net, a hallmark of his tennis. He got it by turning a very adverse first set and putting the direct in the second to reduce to 97th of the ATP. In this way, the Spanish (17 years and five months) became the second youngest player to win three challengers after French Richard Gasquet, who at 16 years and 10 months celebrated Montabaun, Sarajevo and Naples. For reference, Novak Djokovic obtained Aachen, Budapest and San Remo with 17 and 11.

So he continues burning stages at breakneck speed and hinting that perhaps he should think directly of the highest category. Thinking about the Marbella test, in two weeks time, it would not be strange to see him among the top 100 on the professional circuit at the end of 2020.

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