Close Call: Alcaraz Avoids Shock Loss On Queen's Club Debut

Close Call: Alcaraz Avoids Shock Loss On Queen's Club Debut

by Evita Mueller

Last updated

After missing out on Queen's last year, Carlos Alcaraz finally made his debut at the event overcoming some shaky play to win the match.

Alcaraz only played 8 matches on grass so far and he has a 4-4 record. It's not a surface on which he plays that well and it's something he's well aware of. Beating Djokovic is the main goal when the grass season comes around because Murray is actually the only player that will play at Wimbledon to have beaten Djokovic on grass.

For Alcaraz, it's going to be tricky, much harder than on other surfaces according to his own words. Still, he's a competitor and will try to get it done, especially after the disappointing loss to Djokovic in Paris. Some of it was his own doing but it's not something that is going to hamper him for the rest of the year.

His opponent in the first round of the 2023 Cinch Championships was Arthur Rinderknech, a really good server who is not shy to come to the net as well. The French player wasn't supposed to be his opponent but got the chance to play after Fils pulled out hours before the match.

The first six games of the match went by calmly as neither player managed to exert too much pressure on the opponent but then we saw a few crazy games. First, we saw Alcaraz waste a couple of break points only to get broken in the very next game. Rinderknech served for the set at 5-3 but lost his serve only to break once more to win the opening set 6-4 after all.

It was a really close set where both played well but were a bit shaky on the serve as both had poor percentages (less than 60 %). The second set saw both of them raise their serving percentages (Alcaraz particularly) which helped smoothen things.

The Spaniard didn't face a single break point while Arthur Rinderknech allowed two. Both came at 5-5 in the second set which is when Alcaraz broke him to take a 6-5 lead turning it into a 7-5 second set win a few minutes later.

It was a spectacular showing from Alcaraz who posted an insane stat line of 20 winners and no unforced errors. The final set truly proved a close call for Alcaraz as he fell behind early 0-2 but then rallied to make it 2-2. His tennis solidified towards the end as he continued applying heavy pressure on his opponent.

A break point at 3-3, and another one at 4-4 were great chances but Alcaraz ultimately was forced to play a tiebreak. It wasn't a huge issue for the Spaniard as he took a mini break to start and then cruised from there. The final score was 4-6 7-5 7-6(3). Alcaraz had 53 winners in this one.


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