As soon as he tied the second set, Carlos Alcaraz takes a seat and peels a banana because it is time for a snack, although in Paris the cutlery is already ringing because this is France and here they have a good and early dinner. The Murcian looks at the sky, verifies that the four drops that fall are nothing more than a small release from the clouds after two days of embarrassment, and then continues to do his thing to seal the victory against Nikoloz Basilashvili: 6-4, 6-2 and 6-4, after 1h 55m. The Murcian does everything as if he had been in the circuit for half his life, but no. Actually, he’s just stuck his head in. He is 18 years and 29 days old.
And so, with that self-confidence and that naturalness, with that break-and-tear tennis that captures glances and praise, he continues to take a bite out of history. If with the victory in the first round of the tournament against Bernabé Zapata he already became the youngest Spaniard to win a match in Paris, ahead of Rafael Nadal himself, the second bite again forces a review of the history books. Because Alcaraz, the pretty boy of world tennis, with this second victory he becomes the youngest tennis player to enter the third round of the French great since the Ukrainian Andrei Medvedev (17 years and 281 days) achieved it in 1992. It is twenty-nine years of that.
From lug to lug, the Spaniard continues to respond to the expectations he has generated since he dazzled as a junior, burning stages at full throttle and knocking down doors without knocking. He just plays, he doesn’t ask for permission. The volumes also say that there was not a player so precocious in the third round of a Grand Slam since Nadal himself (17 years and 243 days), back in 2004, seventeen years after that in Melbourne, beat the Frenchman Thierry Ascione and He met the fierce Lleyton Hewitt, who marked the end point of his journey. Alcaraz, then, continues to progress and seduce.
Of course, no bells on the fly, that’s what Juan Carlos Ferrero, his coach, is there for, and he repeats over and over again not to be in a hurry because the earth demands an extra dose of a cool head and the boy, a powder inside and off the track, you sometimes want to finish points on an excessively fast path. “Easy, Charlie, easy.” And while, Basilashvili, a 29-year veteran who has five ATP trophies at home and is ranked 31st in the ranking, he shakes the ball in anger because the young man with acne is painting his face.
So when he is already two sets behind, he does a bitch and stops the match requesting medical attention because he is dizzy. It is of no use to you. Alcaraz, nadalized With the sleeveless shirt assigned to him by the sports firm that sponsors him for the irruption in Paris, he continues to press him and display resources from the bottom of the line: mobility, timing, forehand and backhand to bore. Guts, too. He warns: little or nothing matters to him who is in front of him or what he does. He goes about his business and does not shy away from the melee proposed by the Georgian, who ends up paying dearly for the ruse and despite having achieved a break, it goes completely empty. Not even the raspas the intrepid Murcian has left him, day by day rising.
It all happens on Court 14, where the stands are as full as possible for the organization and these times of necessary limitations. Alcaraz, the youngest in the main draw, and named on Saturday with Jan-Lennard Struff, celebrates it with a ball that goes directly to the Chatrier, where it awaits him sooner rather than later. There, in the center, Roger Federer (39), the one who has blown the most candles of all the male competitors present in Paris, has lost his nerves before because the referee Emmanuel Joseph has whistled him a warning (warning) for being late in subtracting.
“Am I playing too slow? I go from one corner to another, I’m not doing it on purpose … ”, protests the champion of 20 grand. “I’ve let you speak before, now you listen to me,” continues the Swiss in an exchange that lasts for two minutes. “I have not seen that Marin [Cilic] I was in his position. I didn’t know that I was somehow rushing him, and so I asked for an explanation. Later, when I returned to the chair after the game, I understood. I’m sorry I did ”, he apologizes chivalrous, with a 6-2, 2-6, 6-7 (4) and 6-2 that guides him towards a meeting with the German Dominik Koepfer.