The sun goes down on Paris and the afternoon, while saying goodbye, welcomes Stefanos Tsitsipas and Carlos Alcaraz in a crowded Philippe Chatrier. It’s a working Tuesday, but it feels like Sunday. No one wants to miss out on the most attractive duel of the current edition of Roland Garros so far. The Hellene appears concentrated, animated and sure of his possibilities, despite the fact that in his four previous clashes against the Murcian he ended up biting the dust. He wins the first game and dreams that this time things will be different. He is wrong. And he will soon find out.
The wind has blown like every day for weeks in the French capital and shakes the leaves of the hundreds of trees in the nearby Bois de Boulogne, a gigantic public park that was an old hunting ground for the kings of France and has become the largest recreation area in western Paris. In the French Republic there have been no kings for a long time. But at Roland Garros, where a Manacor-born tyrant reigned until last year, the crown has remained vacant. Many dispute it, although they all take it for granted that it will be for the veteran Novak Djokovic or for the new Carlos Alcaraz.
Almost two hours later it is already dark and the air is fresh. Carlos and Virginia, the parents of the number 1 in the world, share confidences. They laugh. They relax. They applaud their son, a couple of rows behind Juan Carlos Ferrero and Albert Molina, in a box as packed as the rest of the stadium. The public is smacking at what is to come: this Friday the Serbian and the Murcian will face each other in a semifinal with an evident flavor of the final. It’s what everyone wanted. The game of the year is here. It’s what people wanted, of course. And it is a blessing for the organizers, orphans of a Nadal whose absence was a nuisance for the tournament.
The problem is that the semifinal still remains. We are in the quarterfinals and people have gone to the Philippe Chatrier in search of strong emotions. He will not have them, since Alcaraz gives Tsitsipas such a dance that the fans who fill the central court of Roland Garros end up delivered to the Greek, cheering him on in the third set as if it were a Davis Cup match, so that at least he scores that partial and prolong the match. Above all, for that of taking advantage of paying for a ticket that is not cheap at all (255 euros the cheapest).
The crowd went from being astonished by Alcaraz’s shaking of his opponent in the first two sets to reacting and aligning himself with Tsitsipas, with the aim of extending the night a bit. Alcaraz, who cannot close the game at the first exchange and allows the third set to go to the tiebreaker after wasting three match points, recovers his best version in the final stretch of the match and ties a victory that puts him for the first time in the Roland Garros semifinals.
an excellent level
The number one was measured against the number five but during the first hour and a half of the clash it seemed like a battle between an unbeatable champion and a player from the previous phase, since the Murcian’s blows were heavenly, always adjusted to the lines, with bite and success . This, added to the leftovers of the house and an increasingly sharp setback, meant that the Greek could not get into the match, unable to win two consecutive points.
It missed and the Hellene missed, like a fairground shotgun. He was right and the Murcian was right, sublime during 90 minutes of pure fire on Parisian clay. Alcaraz only seemed of this world in the last games of the duel. That jam did not hurt him, to remove any hint of euphoria before facing Djokovic this Friday in one of those matches that will be remembered for a lifetime. Thus, a fantastic triumph for Alcaraz (6-2, 6-1 and 7-6) to reach the semifinals, where a Djokovic awaits him who is going from less to more in Paris. Roland Garros and the leadership of the ATP is at stake.
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