New York is an extraordinary day, a pleasant September heat that warms but doesn’t sting. There is no trace other than that sticky moisture that soaks clothes and stealthily depletes anyone’s energy reserves. A beautiful sun and shade on the largest tennis court in the world, the Arthur Ashe, where Carlos Alcaraz intervenes for the first time in the daytime session of this edition of the US Open. You could say that everything is perfect. Or, rather, almost perfect. Yes but no. He surrenders to the British Daniel Evans (6-2, 6-3, 4-6 and 6-3, after 3h 10m), he has a pass to the round of 16 in his pocket and he spots a rival on the horizon, the Italian Matteo Arnaldi, that surely he would have signed before the start of the tournament. However, he is not too happy.
“Nooooo!” “But what are you doing, Charly, what are you doing!” “What a fucking shame, you fucking ball of break!”. The Murcian has been getting tangled up, he has been losing control and his plans have gone awry; he competes between constant reproaches towards himself and punishes himself while he seeks an explanation for what is happening. What pointed to a well-tracked victory and a crossing without excessive crumb, leaden but relatively dominated, leads to a rough and uncomfortable episode, very indigestible. Without really knowing why, his tennis pales and he suffers a disconnection that reintroduces Evans to a match that was apparently dead.
No shine, but two sets up, he seemed to have the situation under control, but the story changed course and he was forced to do an extra to definitively surrender to the Englishman. He shines the sun, but inside it is a gray day. Inspiration comes and goes. He overflows with the blow, but makes inaccuracies that he is not used to. Without realizing it, he has put his feet in the mud and when those two options of snatching Evans’ serve to equal four escape him, in the third set, he explodes. At the fifth opportunity, the British ends up scratching the set. The outburst resounds throughout the plant. He’s not the only one. He yells a few times in anger. Irritated and nervous, tense, he needs to unlock the duel.
He swallows some pills and from the bench, Juan Carlos Ferrero insists that he must change his expressiveness and reconnect mentally. Meanwhile, Evans, already a veteran, tries to seize the moment and harasses him with increased aggressiveness, aware that his train is passing by. The Englishman tries to take the game to his territory and he rebels, although he ends up colliding with that virtue that great players have of knowing how to escape the messy days. Alcaraz is 20 years old, but the job of a long-term tennis player. As he strategically fails to unblock the situation, he decides the hard way. In his way. An extraordinary wrist blow means the definitive impulse and clears the ground for him towards the eighths. The adversary bows –a 4-2 break in the final stretch– and a crossed forehand closes a difficult day for him, a supporter of seeing the glass half full: winning without playing well, a differential factor in tennis.
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