Much of what can be expected from Carlos Alcaraz at this Roland Garros was the ability to raise the rank of his tennis and firmly impose himself on Lorenzo Musetti, 17th seed, who came with a well-earned predicament after his impeccable record in the tournament. The fight between the two young men ended up clearly decanted on the side of the world number 1, much more done than any of his contemporaries. The Spaniard returns to the quarterfinals of the tournament, where he was stopped in 2022 by Alexander Zverev, after winning 6-3, 6-2, 6-2, in two hours and eight minutes.

The Italian started well, before being diluted as a result of the armed wing of his opponent, whom he had managed to reduce last summer in the final of the ATP 250 in Hamburg. When he started playing, after the two direct serves with which Alcaraz started the match, Musetti exhibited the conditions that had brought him to his second round of the tournament, after having to retire, exhausted, having had two sets of advantage against Djokovic in 2021. Erratic, the Spaniard felt the ball badly. I also felt the leap in quality on the other side of the net.

It took little time for the Alcaraz to appear, which needed a match like this, the alternating current between the virulent blows and the chiseled touch for the left mark of the house. Musetti, who had only given up his serve three times in the previous matches, delivered it twice in a row.

Shared ovations

The audience rubbed their hands and gave shared ovations. Alcaraz, 20, and Musetti, 21, offered a show with all the signs of durability in the coming years. The Italian wears silk gloves. Nor does it fall short when it comes to offering what the most exquisite palates value. It is far from the sidereal height reached by its rival, but it is expected as one of the assets of the revolution underway.

Lost by some excesses in the search for unsuspected corners of the court, Musetti assimilated that he was facing an impossible. Alcaraz's thirty-fourth victory in 2023, twenty-fourth on clay, was going to be a matter of time. The champion in Indian Wells, Madrid, Barcelona and Buenos Aires offered all the sample of his skills and closed the second partial in the same way he had started the match, with a direct serve.

There would be no return ticket for Carrara, winner of the 2019 Australian Open, finalist of the US Open in 2018 and number 1 in the category, who met with a winning serve and a forehand serve and volley in the two attempts to break and place 2-0 in the third set. In the same instance where two years ago he stayed on the shore in front of Djokovic, this time Alcaraz put a whole ocean in between.

"I played at a high level, with high quality of shots, very aggressive, a very complete match," he said at the foot of the court. "I'm one of the main favourites to win the title, but I try to get all that out of my head, smile and have fun, look for impossible shots and make people enjoy."

  • tennis
  • Carlos Alcaraz
  • Novak Djokovic

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