Alcaraz Begins Miami Open With Strong Performance Against Carballes Baena

Alcaraz Begins Miami Open With Strong Performance Against Carballes Baena

by Jordan Reynolds

Carlos Alcaraz's impressive form continued after comfortably overcoming Roberto Carballes Baena in his opening match at the Miami Open.

Alcaraz defended his title at the Indian Wells Open last week. This was his first title since his Wimbledon triumph last July and silenced any critics of the Spaniard in very emphatic style.

Despite this, some legends of the sport have pointed to areas where the 20 year old can still improve. For example, Mats Wilander feels Alcaraz needs to learn to win when he is not at his best.

Alcaraz's opponent for his opening match in Miami is someone he knows well. His compatriot Carballes Baena recalled Alcaraz being very skinny when he first saw him playing as a 15 year old.

The progress of the world No. 2 has been incredible since then, and Alcaraz showed just how good he is once again by outclassing Carballes Baena, despite the 31 year old fighting as hard as he could.

Alcaraz stamped his authority on the match from the start. He broke in the very first game with some intense hitting from the baseline, with his older opponent clearly not used to playing someone who strikes the ball like Alcaraz does.

Carballes Baena did get some joy when he was able to extend the rallies and he actually won more rallies over 9 shots than Alcaraz did. The issue was that Carballes Baena did not get a chance to do this often enough due to his opponent's firepower.

Alcaraz broke again in the fifth game and was never in any trouble on his serve throughout the opening set. He easily served it out to take the set 6-2 and leave Carballes Baena with a mountain to climb.

The world No. 64 needed a good start to the next set to have a realistic chance. However, the opposite happened. Once again, Alcaraz broke in the first game of the set, which included a stunning drop volley from the Wimbledon champion.

Carballes Baena is a determined and feisty competitor and he was trying as hard he could. He saved two break points in a very long fifth game of the set, but he was unable to stop his compatriot from breaking once again.

Despite Carballes Baena's effort, he simply did not have the firepower to disrupt Alcaraz. The two-time Grand Slam champion raced to a 6-2 6-1 victory after another dominant performance.


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