Defending Champion Alcaraz Struggles A Lot But Opens Wimbledon's Centre Court With Win

Defending Champion Alcaraz Struggles A Lot But Opens Wimbledon's Centre Court With Win

by Zachary Wimer

Carlos Alcaraz played his first match at the 2024 Wimbledon Championships and won it in straight sets, even though he faced some trouble.

The Spaniard arrived in London without the sort of preparation he had last year because he didn't have a good run at the ATP 500 tournament at the Queen's Club. He won the event last year, which was a pivotal moment in the season because, as he would explain later, it mattered a lot in terms of self-belief ahead of major at SW19.

He went on to win Wimbledon after that, and winning Queen's was pinpointed by him as crucial for that to happen. This year was a bit different as he lost to Jack Draper fairly early, so the preparation was not ideal.

It was clear from the way his first-round match unfolded because his opponent, Mark Lajal, took an early break. Lajal is a fairly talented Eastonian player who is familiar with grass and has weapons that work well on it.

After a shaky start, which saw him being broken, the third seed pulled back the break but couldn't break again, so the set had to be decided in a tie-break. The Spaniard was the more aggressive player, hitting more winners but also making more errors.

Still, it worked out, as he won the opening set 7-3 in the tie-break. The second set was also interesting, and Lajal broke early again. Alcaraz then pulled back the break and outplayed his opponent to win the second set 7-5.

Lajal started to fade off towards the second set, making more mistakes while the 21-year-old was getting better and better. This is similar to what we saw from the Spaniard last year, as he improved with every set he played.

The final set was a fairly easy cruise for Alcaraz, who won it 6-2. Overall, it was a good 7-6(3), 7-5, 6-2 win for Alcaraz, behind 43 winners and 28 unforced errors. Next up either is Aleksandar Vukic or Sebastian Ofner.


You may also like