Carlos ALCARAZ goes from strength to strength in sublime shotmaking masterclass against Richard GASQUET at Australian Open

Tuesday, 16 January 2024 at 13:33
carlos alcaraz australia
Carlos Alcaraz has beaten Richard Gasquet in the first round of the Australian Open in a duel in which he went from less to more and in which it was noticeable that it was his first match of 2024. Although the ghosts of missed break points returned, Carlitos ended up winning 7-6/6-1/6-2.
He has been working on the rest of his game and his serve during the whole preseason. The idea, as commented in an interview prior to the start of the Australian Open Antonio Martinez Cascales, the coach who accompanies him in place of the operated Juan Carlos Ferrero, and that has been seen in the duel against Gasquet from the beginning;
In the first game, Carlos had several break points, but Gasquet pulled his serve and backhand and managed to save his serve. In the first game with the serve Carlitos, who played for the first time a match in 59 days, had problems and the French had a break point. The Spaniard saved the problem and levelled up.
The two players won their games without difficulty and the duel was 2-2 with Carlos Alcaraz gradually gaining more confidence. He had another chance on Gasquet's serve, who played a powerful second and saved it. The worst of Carlos Alcaraz in 2024 were the wasted break balls and he started the year in the same way. Thus, 3 games to the rest and 0 of 6 in breaks. 3-2 up for the Frenchman;
He lost the seventh break point following that with a forehand that went out. At pleasure, with a forehand to half court, he sent the ball five meters out. It was already 8 break points lost. And came the ninth saved by Gasquet thanks now to a great service.
Five consecutive points by Gasquet made it 4-3 to Gasquet. Unbelievable. 9 balls of breaks lost by a Carlos that last year was, by far, the player with more break points in favor of the circuit with a percentage of success less than Novak Djokovic or Daniil Medvedev.
With a lot of confidence after the 9 break points saved, Gasquet won his next serve with solvency and went 5-4 up in the first set. Carlitos was still unable to break the French player's serve, who secured the tie break in the first set;
After a fairly even game that ended in an exchange of 17 shots, Alcaraz forced sudden death;
Same dynamic in the tie break during the match, the Spaniard had a couple of mini breaks that the Frenchman came back. We arrived at 5-5 even with both players being unreliable with their serves;
Carlos Alcaraz got his first set point with a great inverted forehand. The Spaniard took advantage of the Frenchman's second serve to go up to the net and take the hard-fought first set 7-6.
After the difficulties with the break points in the first set, the opposite happened in the second. Carlos took advantage of the first one he had to break and, after winning his first two serves with authority, he was 3-0 with the set and the match on track.
It was noticeable in Gasquet's game that he had missed the opportunity to win the first set, which had been very close, and that several errors at the net had prevented him from doing so. Carlos, calmer, imposed his physique and his talent;
The rest of the set was a total walkover for Carlos Alcaraz, who had a higher and higher level. He increased his percentage of first serves and his success in the breaks, something he could not do in the first set. No history.
Tremendous as he started the third set Carlos Alcaraz very aggressive with a forehand against which Richard Gasquet could do absolutely nothing. He broke from the start in a duel that was completely on track;
Everything he couldn't break in the first set he started to break from then on. Carlos attacked again and again with his forehand and in very few occasions Richard Gasquet could defend himself. A new break came and the duel was sentenced. Carlos closed the second set 6-2.
Lorenzo Sonego will be Carlos Alcaraz's opponent in the second round of the Australian Open. He will surely make him suffer from the bottom of the court, although the Murcian is a clear favorite to continue advancing;

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