The central court of the Puente Romano club in Marbella hosted this Thursday something more than a tennis match between two national players. The public that was able to attend the installation (only about 800 spectators due to capacity restrictions due to the pandemic) attended a meeting that confirmed the generational change in this sport in Spain. Feliciano López, 39, from Toledo, leaves. And the Murcian Carlos Alcaraz, 17, arrives.
The youngest won in a magnificent battle, in which both competed with everything. Nothing was saved and, at times, it seemed more like a final than a second-round clash of an ATP 250 tournament. Alcaraz, who needed such a victory to leave behind a last month of doubts and defeats, fHe went from less to more and ended up leaving a Feliciano López without arguments for whom the game was too long.
Since 2011 in Vienna, no match has been played on the circuit with such a difference in age between the two players. Then they faced Dominic Thiem, with 18 years, and Thomas Muster, with 44. When Alcaraz was born, Feliciano was number 54 in the world and had already made his Davis Cup debut. These data encouraged the previous one and made the duel the most followed of all those that have been played so far this week in Marbella.
In the first sleeve, the Toledo player imposed his veterancy, who was especially successful with his serve and won 80% of the points contested with his first serve. The Murcian, for his part, had problems with his second serve. He only took 20% of the points played with his second and in the end he gave up the set (4-6). But Alcaraz never wrinkles. Upside down, He was spurred on in the second round and in the first game he already broke his opponent’s serve. Varying his blows a lot and being very aggressive to the rest, Alcaraz passed over López in the second set (6-2).
The forces were matched in the third and final manga, in which Feliciano, currently 57 in the world, He pulled veteran to counteract the push of an insolent Carlos Alcaraz. The Murcian realized that he had to lengthen the points and prolonged exchanges began to be a constant. Not all of them fell on their side, but at all times the feeling was that the victory was closer for El Palmar in a duel that was just two hours long. Alcaraz’s pulse did not tremble. He fastened the victory on his first match ball (6-4) and celebrated it content, clenching his fist and looking at the corner where Juan Carlos Ferrero, his coach, applauded him.
Alcaraz, 133 in the world ranking, will play tomorrow in the quarterfinals of this ATP 250 in Marbella against Norwegian Casper Ruud, 22 years old and number 26 in the world. It is the third seed of the Costa del Sol tournament and in the round of 16 he knocked down Italian Gianluca Mager (6-2, 6-3) without problems. He reached the fourth round of the last edition of the Australian Open.
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