It seems unavoidable. It’s that thing you know is going to happen, but you can’t stop. It is the feeling that Carlos Alcaraz transmits on the track, both to the spectators and to the rivals. Gael Monfils (28th in the world), skilled in tennis school, you no longer have any doubts. His smile in the last few games, looking at his team in disbelief, gave him away. He had just eliminated Daniil Medvedev, dropping him from number one, and he couldn’t even tickle Charly. Not even with one of the fastest rights in history: 199 km / h to close the first game. A mere anecdote, bottled up and lost in a sea of talent. 7-5 and 6-1 at 1h17 with a clear message: Alcaraz is not in Indian Wells to get excited or to progress, he is here to win. He wants it all and feels ready. Cameron Norrie or Jenson Brooksby, the next step to climb, in the quarterfinals, before a semifinal in which he could meet Rafa Nadal, if the Spaniard beats Nick Kyrgios. History insists on intertwining them. It also seems inevitable.
Having Monfils in front of you is like a crossword puzzle. A walking riddle, but with a tremendous right hand and a privileged physiognomy. After the points, sometimes, he rests his hands on his knees, sending wrong signals of fatigue. Other times, she opens her arms to win the cheers of the public. Sometimes, it even seems that the result does not go with him, as if everything were a game, but he leaves his breath in each of his long strides (192 cm). And he also plays carefree, smiling almost alwaysbut he competes in Indian Wells enduring the pain of seeing his wife, the Ukrainian tennis player Elina Svitolina, crying every night. Gael is a complex tennis player and Alcaraz solved it in a jiffy. Word by word, unknown by unknown. He needed a first set to study it and half of the other to get honors.
For the Spanish tennis players, apparently, things were going from cannon shots. Nadal, in front of Opelka, going back several meters from his line in the opposing serves, adapted to the situation; Alcaraz, with the impetus of youth, wanted to confront him directly. Right goes, right comes. But cheating. Monfils stayed there. The miracle of El Palmar went much further. His repertoire is vast, he is one of the greatest, and he showed it in key moments. To close the first set and to start the second with a break. It was hard to break Monfils, but it was easy to shatter him. Like the hardest diamond: if it breaks, it is in a thousand pieces. At the third, for 6-5, it was the charm and the rest was rolling with a favorable slope.
In the card, numbers that ratify the sensations: 87% of the points won with the first service, 77% with the second, no break ball against and 7, with three exploits, in favor, 24 winners to 10, 10 unforced errors to 20… An exhibition. A hungry precocity. After winning his first ATP 500, in Rio, Alcaraz became the youngest player to break into the world Top 20 since 1993. Now, he is also the tennis player who has been the fastest to reach the Indian Wells quarterfinals since 1989. A constant. It’s his best record at a Masters 1000, but it won’t last long. His winning record is 11-1 in 2022. 16-1 since dazzling the world by sweeping Sebastian Korda at the NextGen ATP Finals. “I want to finish 2022 among the top 15,” he said before starting it. In March, he has already achieved it. Or, like almost everything with him, it seems inevitable.
Indian Wells Masters 1,000 results.