The Spanish Carlos Alcaraz, first favorite, sealed this Monday the 100th victory of his career on the ATP circuit at just 19 years old, beat the Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor 7-6(4) and 6-3 and qualify for the round of 16 of the Indian Wells Masters 1,000.
The shots of the Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor had an average of 125 kilometers per hour in the first set, but Alcaraz knew how to contain the great start of his rival and met in the round of 16 with the British Jack Draper, executioner of his compatriot Andy Murray. The Murcian, number two in the world and first favorite in the Californian desert before the loss of the Serbian Novak Djokovic, sealed the victory in one hour and 41 minutes. Is the second fastest player to reach one hundred wins on the ATP tour with a balance of 100-32, after John McEnroe, who did it in one game less.
After easily eliminating the Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis in his debut, Alcaraz overcame a more demanding obstacle and returned to showing good signs on a physical level, after the hamstring injury that cost him the final of the Rio tournament against the British Cameron Norrie. The Murcian, who reached the first position in the ranking with his title at the United States Open and is now number two, will be able to return to number one with a win in Indian Wells, in the absence of Novak Djokovic. The Serb does not participate in Indian Wells as he cannot enter the United States due to his refusal to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Alcaraz was a semifinalist last year at ‘Tennis Paradise’ before being crowned in Miami with the first of his two Masters 1,000. He would win shortly after in Madrid, in addition to Rio and Barcelona, and would put the icing on the cake in New York, when he raised the first ‘big’ of his career to heaven and became number one in the world.
First set of high demand
Griekspoor was clear that he would need to push his shots to the maximum to put Alcaraz in trouble and in the first set the Dutchman managed to push the Murcian to the limit. His right hand averaged over 130 km/h speed and his backhand was traveling at an average of 122 km/h. Alcaraz needed patience and concentration, so as not to get frustrated and not grant opportunities with his service. He did it with maturity, playing long points, defending at the moment of need, and settled the first set on the tiebreaker after 59 minutes of a real battle. He signed a great through reverse in the first point and escaped 4-2 with a perfect drop, before sentencing the set with a definitive 7-4.
It was a psychological blow for Griekspoor, who began to show signs of nervousness in the second set and lost serve in the first turn. Alcaraz saved two breaking balls with a 2-0 lead and sealed the clash with his serve for the final 6-3.
Alcaraz will now face draperthe great hope of British tennis, who knocked down in a spectacular match his teammate Andy Murray 7-6(5) and 6-2. The Murcian won the only precedent with Draper, number 56 in the world ranking, last year in Basel, in three sets.
Former NBA players, German Dirk Nowitzki, champion in 2011 with the Dallas Mavericks, and his friend Steve Nash, were in the presidential box watching the match.