The Murcian shone to completely devastate Tsitsipas (6-2, 6-1, 7-6). Two initial sets to remember and semifinals.
Stefanos Tsitsipas he is a great tennis player. You could say that he is one of the best on the planet. He became number three in the ATP ranking, finalist of two ‘Grand Slams‘ and winner of the 2019 Masters Cup. At 24 years old, he is one of those names called to take over from legends and precede the new generation that has been pushing forward. But the Greek player has found a ceiling above and another below. He ‘Big three‘ -Rafa Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic- has stopped him and has come across another peerless Spanish talent. Capable of complexing anyone.
Is about Carlos Alcaraz. Before the duel this Tuesday, in the quarterfinals of Roland Garros, had been measured four times. All with victory for the Murcian -US Open 2021, Miami Masters 2022 and Conde de Godó 2022 and 2023-. On those occasions the Hellene fell, but this time he had arrived in Paris with better feelings. In his four previous matches he had only given up one set. It seemed that the moment of takeoff had arrived. However, he quickly understood that none of that was going to happen.
an hour of beauty
He came out onto the French clay with an aggressive will. He wanted to mark territory against the youth number one and scored the first game with the serve. The problem is that from there it was devastated in each and every one of the facets of the game. The 35th win of the year for ‘Carlitos‘ came to fruition in a way never seen before in his illustrious career. He competed with such hierarchy, personality and superiority that he wiped his rival off the track almost without breaking a sweat. With a volcanic intensity and a surgeon’s precision, the Spaniard painted a work of art.
He unhinged the Greek in the mental battle, who had already been touched in that facet by the precedents between the two. He pressured him with deep, powerful shots, sought the backhand on the open serve and tortured him with changes in height, angle and force. The variety of the palette of the tennis player born in El Palmar took the maximum expression of him. An outrage was then seen in the Philippe Chatrier that did not allow an audience to sit down that was fed up with applauding. ‘Matches‘ Wonderful, delicate drop shots, raised to the net with silk volleys… The usual repertoire brought to its fullness.
In the statistics it is read that the first set ended with 6-2 (34 minutes) and the second, with 6-1 (31 minutes). He only allowed him three games in two sets to a dwarfed Tsitsipas, resigned from his status as the fourth best player in the world. Not a chance to break granted him, while the Murcian connected 75% of first serves and won more than 80% of those first. The relationship between ‘winners‘ and unforced errors at that point was 20-7 compared to 10-19 for the Athenian. The mind of the Greek, supported by his father (and coach) from the box, said enough. He committed four double faults in the second set alone.
The unexpected bond
And it started no better in the third set. In that section the grandstand had already ceased to marvel at a performance that also sought entertainment. The stands began to support Stefanos. They wanted to see more tennis and for the game not to end so quickly. Even so, ‘Carlitos‘ he did not take his foot off the accelerator and it was placed 3-0 without blinking. Seven consecutive games he had added. He advanced a little more and prepared to finish off the job, already with 5-2 on the scoreboard. But suddenly he slowed down and his utter concentration deflated, as he later confessed.
He was able to finish, however, but he did not hole two match balls. Tsitsipas escaped and the Greek was forced to let go, finally, with nothing to lose. That mixture equalized forces for the first time and the first breaking ball against the Spaniard’s service came at 5-3. And Stefanos materialized the challenge, to tighten a set that would tie at five games. Along the way, Alcaraz left another match point -he needed five chances- and the stake would stretch. The youth reacted with two ‘aces‘ followed at the most tense moment and at the ‘tie-break‘ He recovered his almost dictatorial mandate to tie the knot to a period performance.
In his 25th victory on clay, the Murcian player shone like never before. Only the energetic mole of the third set prevented him from autographing the best match of his life. “I believe in myself all the timeI think that’s the most important thing to win this kind of match at this level. The key is to enjoy each game,” he declared after lowering the curtain on a stupendous effort of two hours and 12 minutes. Novak Djokovic awaits him in the semifinals on Friday. If the Spaniard wins, he will continue at the top of tennis. If it is the Serb who prevails and lifts the trophy, he will be number one.
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