Alcaraz rallies to beat Popyrin in Winston-Salem

Carlos Alcaraz hits the ball during pre-tournament training for the Winston-Salem Open at the Wake Forest Tennis Complex in Winston Salem, North Carolina.

Carlos Alcaraz is already in the round of 16 of the Winston-Salem tournament after beating Australian Alexei Popyrin in an agonizing match in three sets by 6-7 (9), 6-1 and 7-6 (1) after almost two hours and 20 minutes of battle.

Both Alcaraz and Popyrin were very solid with their serve in the first round, where there was only one break option for the Spaniard in the first game, so everything was decided in the tie-break. In the tiebreaker Popyrin was superior and had up to four set balls that Alcaraz saved. However, the Murcian did not know how to take advantage of his only set ball and Popyrin managed to close the sleeve by 11-9.

Alcaraz did not give up and in the second set he managed to break twice in a row the Australian’s serve to get 5-0 in favor. The Murcian had two options to close the set to the rest, but finally achieved it at the third set ball with his serve to take the sleeve 6-1 and force the third and final set.

In the third sleeve the same trend was repeated as in the first, with Alcaraz and Popyrin very solid on serve. and with only one option to break for the Spaniard in the entire sleeve that he did not take advantage of, so the match would be decided in the tie-break. Contrary to what happened in the first set, Alcaraz was more confident in the decisive points and broke Popyrin’s serve three times to close the match with the first match point he had and take the tiebreaker 7-1. Now in the round of 16 he will face the Hungarian Marton Fucsovics, fourth seed for the title, who defeated Japan’s Yosuke Watanuki 7-5, 6-1.

Losses of Albert Ramos and Andy Murray

The victories of Alcaraz and Pablo CarreƱo seemed to bring closer a full of Spanish victories in Winston-Salem that finally did not occur after the defeat of Albert Ramos against the Swede Mikael Ymer by 6-3 and 6-1. Ramos, eleventh favorite for the title, was overtaken by the Swede, who took advantage of four of the five break balls he had to seal his pass to the round of 16, where he will face Australian Max Purcell (he beat his compatriot Jordan Thompson 7-5, 6-4).

Another news of the day in the tournament was the defeat of British Andy Murray, who in his last tournament before the US Open was beaten by American Frances Tiafoe in straight sets 7-6 (4), 6-3. Tiafoe will now seek a place in the quarterfinals against Brazilian Thiago Monteiro, who defeated the ‘lucky loser’ Eduardo Nava, who came in through the late retirement of David Goffin, 7-5, 6-1.

In the rest of the matches of the day, it is worth highlighting the victories of Daniel Evans (3-6, 6-4 and 6-1 to Lucas Pouille) and Jan-Lennard Struff (double 6-2 to Gianluca Mager), and the surprising defeats of Alexander Bublik (6-2 and 7-6 (5) against Emil Ruusuvuori) and Marin Cilic (4-6, 7-5 and 6-4 against Ilya Ivashka), fifth and sixth seed for the title respectively.

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