Saturday, December 9, 2023

Alcaraz succumbs in Paris to the first changes against an inspired Safiullin

The Spanish tennis player Carlos Alcaraz lost this Tuesday by 6-3 and 6-4 against the Russian Roman Safiullin in the second round of the tournament Paris-Bercyninth and last Masters 1000 of the seasonbeing eliminated and taking a wrong step before facing the ATP Finals in Turin (Italy), scheduled for November 12 to 19.

As the second seed for this Parisian competition, Alcaraz began his journey in the round of 32. And he did it against an unprecedented Safiullin in his history of opponents, without precedents with which to gauge how the player born in Podolsk could behave on a hard court.

Trap date for the tennis player from El Palmar, well his opponent had accumulated three games in Paris-Bercy (qualifying and thirty-second phase), and despite everything it started out serene. After two games without surprises on serve, Alcaraz took advantage of his first break point to go ahead 1-2. However, it immediately gave up its service and went into a spin.

Without his usual fluidity of movements or depth with his ‘drive’, the Murcian barely worried Safiullin and conceded another break in the eighth game (5-3). In the next, with a blow against the opponent’s foot while going up to the net, the Russian materialized the first opportunity to seal the set.

In just over half an hour, Alcaraz left bad feelings and also a mishap with the Accor Arena lighting cut off his progress. Having won the opening game of the second set with his serve and a blank, the player from El Palmar was up 0-30 when some ceiling lights blinked more than normal.

The chair umpire stopped the rally until someone in charge of the tournament fixed the incident. And those five minutes of break on the court left Alcaraz out of tune, who wasted two break balls after the restart and later did not consolidate a 1-3 advantage that he had achieved.

Safiullin returned the break (2-3) and patiently solved the sixth game (3-3) with his serve, seeing many signs of distrust grow in his opponent. The one from El Palmar did not smile and was incapable of being as forceful as he had been several months ago.

In the long seventh game, on the fourth attempt Safiullin took the lead (4-3) with a break that he easily consolidated. Although Alcaraz extended the battle thanks to three forehand winners (5-4), the Russian confirmed the big surprise by eliminating the current No. 2 in the world ranking after 1 hour and 37 minutes.

The Russian’s next rival will be his compatriot Karen Khachanov, executioner of Serbian Laslo Djere by 6-4 and 7-5 after 1 hour and 50 minutes. Alejandro Davidovich from Malaga will also not be in those round of 16, who this Tuesday lost by a double 6-2 against the Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor.


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