Alcaraz Beats Paul In Mexico Exhibition In Front Of Nearly 30,000 Fans

Alcaraz Beats Paul In Mexico Exhibition In Front Of Nearly 30,000 Fans

by Nurein Ahmed

Carlos Alcaraz illuminated the La Plaza de Toros Monumental in Mexico City with a gallant performance in the second edition of the TennisFest GNP exhibition.

The 20-year-old defeated Tommy Paul 7-6, 6-3, in front of nearly 30,000 fans and in testing altitude conditions. The match-up between the pair had been announced as early as late September, following last year's highly successful battle between Rafael Nadal and Casper Ruud.

Alcaraz and Paul have played some belters between them in their head-to-head which is tied at 2-2 on the main tour. Three of those four meetings have each gone the full distance, so if there was an opponent worthy of giving Alcaraz even more riddles to solve during the off-season, it was Paul.

At an altitude of 2,200 meters, it is nothing unusual in this part of the world. But for tennis players such drastic changes make for a massive difference. This explained why both players struggled to control the ball throughout, and there were only a handful of moments of brilliance.

The first set was highly competitive and lasted on serve until the tiebreak. It was Alcaraz who managed to get the first minibreak and raced to a 3-0 lead. A forehand miss by Alcaraz gave Paul a route back in the set, but it was only momentarily.

The American, who last played a tennis match on November 1, was making far too many basic errors including one poor volley while 1-3 down in the tiebreak. Alcaraz never relinquished that lead. He finished off the set with a wonderful kick serve that Paul failed to return.

Alcaraz was in the ascendancy in the second set. He produced a sublime one-handed backhand pass down the line - one of the shots of the match - but let Paul off the hook in the second game. But the pressure eventually paid off in the fourth game.

After some excellent muscle movement to return an angled forehand from Paul, the American netted the follow-up shot. With a break in the bag, Alcaraz cantered the final few games of the set and rounded off the match with two more holds.


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