Carlos Alcaraz had never played such a long game, and it showed. The Murcian had never experienced the test of the five sets, and he verified the demands of the marathon. Despite a very hopeful start, the Swede Mikael Ymer ended up winning in the second round (2-6, 6-4, 6-4 and 7-6 (5), in 3h 08m) and closing his way on this first track by a Grand Slam. Alcaraz leaves, in any case, with a master's degree on the record and having left clues of what may be to come, if things do not go too far. The 17-year-old boy has aurea. And although he said goodbye amid the gusts that entangled in Track 17, penalized by his own hunger, he has a lot to say.
The 25 days of military service by 'Carlitos' Alcaraz Alcaraz is presented in a big way
When it blows, the Melbourne wind It really blows and the day did not demand bravado but moderation and restraint, poise and courage because the gusts made the day unpleasant and it was not easy to play. Ugly day, a trap. "Head, head," Juan Carlos Ferrero would say to his boy from the side, whose body naturally asks him to go forward and dominate, intense in each shot. The script, however, demanded this time to control the rally, pause, put balls; Ymer, in addition, fell under his own weight if the goal was lengthened, and instead recovered ground if the skirmish went by the direct route. The Swede, also observed by his country, all tennis nostalgia, also hid his tricks.
Sweden remembers the Borg, Wilander or Edberg, and sighs because there is little light at the end of the tunnel. Meanwhile, Spanish tennis rubs its hands with the take off of Alcaraz, who is rightly showered with praise and receives praise without stopping. Nadal himself has blessed him – "he has all the ingredients to be a great champion" – but the boy has a cool head. "I'm new here," he remembered the other day. Feet on the ground, then. Lesson well learned. And patience. He is discovering the ins and outs of competing a big one and learning to navigate in the thorny territory of long distance, where each outing on the track means a new world to discover.
This Thursday he opened the second door and found something different: the baptism of all five sets. Bigger words, full-fledged test. A comprehensive exam. He responded well from the physical angle, but he lacked reading and he sinned in haste in some moments that asked to take his foot off the accelerator. He is 17 years old. From the beginning he showed the catalog, that seductive and loaded tennis that invites you to imagine; he showed his fangs and wanted to impose himself all the time, when the day, difficult to handle, demanded to cook over low heat, with a more calm point. It started out as a fable, with another exquisite start, but then his pulse became long. It went from more to less.
Although he started crooked, with a double fault, giving up a first break and conceding the first set in 27 minutes, Ymer did not lose his place and was straightening up to balance. The Nordic (22 years old, 95th ATP) won the second round with three breaks and, with a much more discreet repertoire, he was getting more loot. In reality, the game was going through Alcaraz's racket. The Murcian has more than enough blows and wickers, but his margin of progression is very large and he played below his possibilities. Had it been at its true level, the result would probably have been quite different. No but, in any case.
The rush was what prevented him from moving forward, because his potential was greater than that of the rival. He penalized that excess of impetus that is, on the other hand, his hallmark. 43 winners, 60 unforced errors. It was enough for Ymer (25/50) with a linear proposal.
Alcaraz opened the third set well, with a break and 40-0 to score 3-0, but accelerated; later he did not turn his face before the adversity that the fourth presented him, in tow twice, but he repeated in wanting to finish everything too quickly; and in the end, the Swede was already emotionally above, more whole and with more wings in the tie break . In this way, his first adventure in a Grand Slam ended, which closed with a note and after having had the bizarre experience of the confinement in Australia, without being able to prepare normally. In any case, it all adds up. Alcaraz leaves a magnificent business card