through the halls of Royal Tennis Club of Barcelona There was no talk of anything other than that child prodigy who was going to face Stefanos Tsitsipas, number five in the world, twice runner-up in Godó. The expectation was so great that those present stood up until at 8:45 p.m. both tennis players went out to the illuminated Godó court. Night fell and the public got up and once again, he applauded, raised his hands to his head and chanted the name of Carlos Alcaraz. Crazy. No qualifiers. The Murcian danced to Stefanos Tsitsipas, then suffered and finally recovered to eliminate him, leaving him unhinged and out of a fateful Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell (4-6, 7-5 and 2-6 in 2h 12 min).
Until 4-4 in the first set, the match was a high-level warm-up. Both solid with their serve, they won without giving up any points. Alcaraz amazed with two dropshots and with those violent blows, that fiery right hand that tested the pulse of his rival with each return. But everything changed in that ninth game. The Murcian began to dominate the points, looking for the weaknesses of Tsitsipas, runner-up twice for Godó, who felt uncomfortable on the track. Alcaraz sealed the break with a drop shot from another planet (4-5). His hand swings the racket, the ball falls on the clay like a feather.
After 4-5, Alcaraz took a step forward. His powerful serve was accompanied by his climbs to the net. EA from Murcia is intuitive, he anticipates and pressures the rival whenever he can. Tsitsipas got so desperate that he didn’t know what to do. On the last ball of the set he threw hard and Alcaraz had to move away because he was going to the body. The Murcian reproached him. The bad gesture of the Greek, much whistled on the track, did not happen to majors. It was in the tantrum of a huge tennis player who was being a puppet in the hands of a prodigy of just 18 years.
The resurrection and fall of the disputed Tsitsipas
Alcaraz’s show continued for five more games. After 1-0 in the second set from Tsitsipas, Alcaraz put him in a 0-4 run. Unbeatable serves, drop shots, volleys and two deep two-handed backhands that brought the stands to their feet. The atmosphere that moment in the closed night of Barcelona was to be witnessing an exhibition of a player called to mark an eracapable of making impossible shots, a range of unimaginable resources, especially those unexpected and perfect drops.
But the scenery was changed because tennis changes direction every moment. Tsitsipas turned his game around, hit him higher balls to avoid his winners, served better and began to gain confidence. He returned the two breaks and took the lead (5-4). He stayed signed, played closer to the lines and moved up 6-5. He subtracted to win the set and he did it. He emerged when he was down 6-1 when Alcaraz had him on the ropes and was dancing him.
Alcaraz’s games are a roller coaster, typical of an 18-year-old player, capable of astonishing with his game and suddenly entering a negative streak and inexplicable failures. As was his reaction later, typical of champions. He reset and recovered sensations until he got 0-3 with a break. At that moment, the Greek left the game. He went to the toilet and took more time than stipulated, for which the Messina chair umpire sanctioned him with two points. The fourth game started 30-0 for Alcaraz, who put the finishing touch to the Greek with that 0-4 and with two devastating balls on the line to get 1-5. He sentenced with 2-6. Alcaraz has already beaten the Greek three times. This one, to look for his first Godó. The semifinals will be this Saturday at 4:00 p.m. against the Australian Álex de Minaur.