Carlos Alcaraz Glides Into French Open Quarterfinals - UBITENNIS
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Carlos Alcaraz Glides Into French Open Quarterfinals

The record-breaking teen was hardly ever troubled by Khachanov’s power and accomplished a comfortable 6-1 6-4 6-4 victory

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By Kingsley Elliot Kaye

In the last match of the fourth round Karen Khachanov proved that his main weapons, service and forehand, were not suited to menace Carlos Alcaraz. However, after hardly showing up in the first set he put up a strenuous battle in the second and third set.  

Alcaraz rushed out from the blocks assertively, holding his first service game to love and powering down an ace and a smash. Then he broke the Russian’s service with the same ease he had held his. 

In the fourth game, at 30 all, Khachanov at last accomplished his favourite scheme with a first serve followed by an inside-in forehand, but it was not enough to make up for his too many unforced errors and avoid a second break. 

Alcaraz soared to 5-0. The point scorecard read 21-6.

Serving to avoid a bagel, Khachanov found a few first serves and hammered a forehand and a backhand to get rapid points in a three-shot combo. Showing that consistent serving was the only key to try and keep up . 

Alcaraz closed the first set 61 in 26 minutes, executing a serve and volley pattern. 

“My style is to be aggressive, so I try to go to the net as many times as I can,” said Alcaraz. 

Khachanov held the first game of the second set serving effectively and in the next game climbed to 30 on Alcaraz’s serve, with a dropshot and a winning backhand. 

On the next service game of the Russian, Alcaraz tried to blindfold Khachanov’s three shot combo by hitting more aggressive returns and not losing ground. A daring tactic, but still costly in terms of unforced errors. For the first time Khachanov nosed ahead, enjoying a 2-1 lead.

In the fourth game Khachanov earned an ovation with a delightfully short sliced crosscourt backhand. It wasn’t enough to edge close to any break point.

It’s never easy to dominate a rally against Alcaraz, Khachanov occasionally was succeeding in the endeavour and held on.

In the seventh game the Spaniard’s determination not to give way on first serves paved the way to a breakpoint. He converted it after a tough, wrestled rally by slashing a sliced back hand along the line which landed in the baseline corner and skidded away, uncontrollable for Khachanov.

One break was enough. At 5-4 Alcaraz enjoyed his favourite gameplan when serving for the set or the match, charging into the net. It had taken him one hour and quarter to seal a two-set lead. 

In the third set Alcaraz took the break in the third game, displaying at full his capacity of turning scrambling into aggression.

But there he got a little overconfident, or perhaps simply enjoying trying out a few overly extravagant shots. He had to refocus to save three break points, but he failed, and Khachanov broke even.

Khachanov saved a break point in the seventh game with an excellent back-hand passing shot, but Alcaraz earned a second one and then secured the break with a tweener, the point of the tournament so far. 

Again, he toyed around a little too much on serve, because Khachanov was in turn enjoying fighting on.  The Spaniard had to save two break points before holding.  

Khachanov heroically saved five match points in the ninth game, in no hurry to reach the locker room, and forced Alcaraz to serve the match out. This time he did it the safer way, just powering from the back. It did the job.

“It was a great match. I had to be really focused from the beginning to the end, to start very aggressive dominating and trying to keep the level, my style, during the whole match.” said Alcaraz. 

The record-breaking 19-year-old will next face Sasha Zverev. If the German is able to leave behind the nightmarish memories of his 6-1 6-3 loss in the Madrid Open final and exploit his strengths at the fullest, it could be some contest. 

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Jack Draper Wins In Stuttgart, Potentially Faces Andy Murray in Round Two

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Jack Draper – ATP Monaco di Baviera 2024 (foto via Twitter @atptour)

Britain’s Jack Draper tight first round win headlined the opening day’s results at the Boss Open 2024 in Stuttgart – and possibly faces a second-round match with Andy Murray who takes on Marcos Giron tomorrow.

Less than 24 hours from the last ball being hit at Roland Garros, the ATP Tour had already switched surfaces onto the grass, and 22-year-old Draper was well tested but ultimately came through in two tie-breakers over Sebastian Ofner.

The sixth seed’s 7-6, 7-6 win contained just one break of serve each, both coming in the second set, as serve dominated proceedings on the faster grass courts in Germany.

While the Austrian won 75% on his first serve, Draper won a whopping 89% behind his first delivery as well as hitting eight aces. These kind of service stats will surely take him far during the grass court season.

“I thought it was a really good match,” Eurosport quoted Draper saying after his match. 
“Both of us played really clean tennis, executing really well.
“When it came down to it, I’m glad I competed really well and got over the line – it’s good to be back on the grass as well.”

There were also wins for Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann who won 6-3, 6-3 over wildcard Henri Squire, while compatriot Dominik Koepfer won in three sets over China’s Zhizhen Zhang 4-6, 7-6, 7-6. 

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Carlos Alcaraz Still Owns A Magical Racket

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The legend of Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket lives on.

The 21-year-old Spaniard executed one magical shot after another with his racket and legs  Sunday afternoon in the French Open final. That bit of magic spelled defeat for Germany’s Alexander Zverev.

This was a final to remember, one of the great matches of all the Grand Slams. It just wasn’t in the cards for the 26-year-old Zverev to finally win a Grand Slam title.

HE HAD IT, THEN HE DIDN’T

Both players seemed to play a game of “he had it and then he didn’t.”

Alcaraz appeared to have everything under control in the first set, but Zverev rushed through the second set and then made a comeback from 5-2 down in the third set to win five straight games.

Zverev had everything going for him when he started the fourth set with a two-set advantage. It appeared that all the 6-6 Zverev had to do was to continue playing his masterful game of big serves and mighty ground strokes.

But Zverev couldn’t get started in the fourth set until he was down 4-0. So much for a smooth and easy ride to a Grand Slam title. By then, the magic of Alcaraz was heating up.

MAGIC OF ALCARAZ HEATING UP

Zverev still had his chances, even when he fell behind 2-1 in the fifth set. He had to feel pretty good about his chances when he took a triple break point lead against Alcaraz’s serve and appeared ready to even the set at 2-2. Even after Carlos came up with a winner to bring the  game score to double break point.

Zverev still was ready to even the entire match.

That’s when everything seemed to go haywire for the German, while all the while, Alcaraz was able to repeatedly come up with his magical shots as the Spaniard made critical shots that looked almost impossible to make.

ALCARAZ HEADED FOR GREATNESS

Everything for Zverev was lost in the magical racket of Alcaraz.

What was then initially called a game-ending Alcaraz double fault and a 2-2 deadlock quicky reversed itself and Alcaraz stayed alive by winning the next three points while taking a 3-1 advantage.

Zverev did get back to a 3-2 deficit and had a break point in the sixth game, but that was it for the hopes of Zverev. The last two games went rather easily in favor of Alcaraz to wrap up a 6-3, 2-6, 5-7, 6-1, 6-2 victory for Alcaraz.

That moved the Spaniard to a higher level of success on the ATP Tour. He became the youngest man to win Grand Slam titles on all of the different surfaces, clay, grass and hard courts.

Carlos Alcaraz and his magical racket appear to be headed for greatness.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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Tsitsipas Brothers Hit With Trio Of Fines At French Open

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Stefanos Tsitsipas and his brother Petros have been fined more than 20,000 euros for multiple violations of the coaching rules at this year’s French Open. 

The brothers received a financial penalty during three different matches that they played in. Two of those were in the second and third rounds of the men’s doubles tournament. Furthermore, Stefanos was also penalised during his singles quarter-final match against Carlos Alcaraz, which he lost in straight sets. According to French newspaper L’Equipe, all three of those fines were issued as a result of coaching rules being broken.

Ironically, coaching is allowed during matches at the French Open but certain rules must be followed. ‘Verbal’ coaching can only be issued from the coaches and their team if they are sitting in the designated player’s box. Instructions must be limited to a few words and can only be given if the player is in the same half of the court as their coach. Although non-verbal coaching is allowed regardless of what side the player is on. Finally, players can’t start a conversation with their coach unless it is during a medical break, a bathroom break or when their opponent is changing clothes.

However, the Tsitsipas brothers have been found in violation of these rules, which is likely due to their animated father in the stands who is also their coach. Apostolos Tsitsipas has been given coaching violations in the past at other events, including the 2022 Australian Open. 

The value of the fines are €4,600 and €9,200 for the Tsitsipas brothers in the doubles, as well as an additional €7,400 just for Stefanos in the singles. In total, the value of their fines is €21,200. However, the penalty is unlikely to have an impact on the duo whose combined earnings for playing in this year’s French Open amount to roughly €495,000. 

So far in the tournament, the highest single fine to be issued this year was against Terence Atmane who hit a ball out of frustration that struck a fan in the stands. Atmane, who later apologised for his actions, managed to avoid getting disqualified from the match. Instead, he was fined €23,000. 

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