It was the first time that Carlos Alcaraz (17 years old) entered the final table of Godó and his participation was limited to one game. A defeat against the American Tiafoe (6-4, 7-6), also young (23) although not as young as the Spanish, who had to work hard to win. But this is only the first step in Alcaraz’s history with the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell, which will probably continue in the future. He left samples of what is to come and his rival ended up applauding him.
Alcaraz came out overwhelmed, either by the stage or by the rival, and it took him a good part of the first set to get into the game. In fact, it looked like he was going to go away in 20 minutes, as Tiafoe went 5-1 after numerous errors of the Spanish who could not find his rhythm or his game. But little by little Alcaraz was shaking his nerves, settling in the game and turning the scoreboard. From 5-1 to 5-4 breaks and blank games through, against a Tiafoe that was no longer as scary as in the first bars: some mistake, several protests to the chair umpire … in short, less focused. Despite this, the American did not miss the advantage. Alcaraz saved the first set point, the second and the third, but in the end he succumbed (6-4).
The second set followed the dynamics of the first, but with the protagonists changed. Alcaraz came out confident, convinced of his potential, and cornered Tiafoe at the back of the track. He found solutions that he did not see in the first set and quickly went 4-1 up. But Tiafoe hadn’t said her last word, far from it. The North American recovered from a bad start, tied at four games and had a break ball to put on, with a serve in favor, in a position to take the game. But he missed and allowed Alcaraz to stay alive in the match, at least until the tie break.
Curiously, he started with 5 points from the remaining player, until Tiafoe was 2-4 ahead. He won the next point (2-5), forcing Alcaraz to make an important comeback to continue in the game. A double fault, in addition, left the match on a tray to Tiafoe, who had four match points. He only needed the first one.
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