Carlos Alcaraz and Alexander Zverev triumph in five-set thrillers at the French Open

Among them is 19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz, who saved a match point by beating fellow Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-1 6-7 5-7 7-6 6-4 on Wednesday.

After beating Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic earlier this month, Alcaraz has been tipped as a potential underdog to triumph at Roland Garros.

But the sixth seed was close to an early second-round exit against Ramos-Vinolas โ€“ first when he faced match point in the fourth set and then again when he went 0-3 up on the fifth.

“I believed in myself all the time,” Alcaraz told reporters. “Of course it was hard…but I believed in myself.”

It took courage and determination for Alcaraz to stay in the game, and on many occasions he ran across the field to recover points that seemed lost.

He could look back and reflect on the 23 break points he failed to convert, while Ramos-Vinolas was much more clinical winning six of his seven break points.

But Alcaraz, who next faces American Sebastian Korda in the third round on Friday, picked up 74 winners โ€“ largely thanks to his excellent forehand โ€“ in the four-hour, 34-minute encounter.

“I’m still young, but I would say I’m an experienced player now,” Alcaraz said.

“I feel comfortable playing in big stadiums, big matches, being in Grand Slams. Physically I’m strong, mentally I’m strong too, so I think I’m ready to play that kind of thing. matches in these situations, these tournaments.”

Third-seeded Alexander Zverev also saved match point by beating Sebastian Baez 2-6 4-6 6-1 6-2 7-5.

Zverev was broken four times in the first two sets before recovering with four breaks of his own in the third and fourth.

A tight fifth set seemed to go in Baez’s favor when he moved a break and then had match point at 5-4, but Zverev, a semi-finalist at Roland Garros last year, was able to fight back and secure the crucial break at 5-5.

“You just have to find a way,” Zverev said. “You talk about mental toughness, you talk about some players – the great ones, Roger (Federer), Rafa (Nadal), Novak (Djokovic) – they always find a way in the toughest times.

“That’s why they are what they are. I’ll never be on their level, but I try to get closer to them and that’s definitely something you have to do.”

Zverev plays a backhand against Baez in their second round match.
Ahead of Alcaraz and Zverev, last year’s runner-up Stefanos Tsitsipas also went five sets beating Lorenzo Musetti at Roland Garros on Tuesday.

There were simpler victories for Nadal and Djokovic in the second round with the former, aiming for his 14th French Open title, beating Corentin Moutet 6-3 6-1 6-4, and the latter, bidding for his third, defeating Alex Molcan. 6-2 6-3 7-6.

Nadal, playing his 300th Grand Slam match, has suffered a few months out of injury since winning the Australian Open in January. “I’m just taking advantage of the fact that I’m at Roland Garros, the most important tournament of the year for me,” he said.

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Nadal could win his 22nd Grand Slam title if he triumphs at Roland-Garros.

Djokovic, meanwhile, appeared to be heading into the third round against Molcan but was pressured into a third-set tiebreaker in what he said were windy and difficult conditions.

He next faces Aljaz Bedene on Friday as he continues his title defense.

In the women’s draw, defending US Open champion Emma Raducanu said she takes every loss as a “lesson” to establish “where I went wrong, where I can improve” because she has lost 3-6 6-1 6-1 to Aliaksandra Sasnovich. .

On her first clay swing, 19-year-old Raducanu struggled with injuries ahead of her French Open debut but also said she “got stronger” on the surface as the season progressed. She then turns her attention to the grass and her home grand slam from Wimbledon next month.


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