Carlos Alcaraz already warned upon his arrival in Barcelona that he always plays at the top and never goes with the handbrake, no matter how much he questions whether his frenzy could take its toll on him in the future. The Murcian wanted to show that he was not using the engine brake, but he came across two rocks on the road. One was called Roberto Bautista (number 24 of the ranking) and the other was the strong wind that was early in the afternoon in Pedralbes. He had to sweat Alcaraz to win a game that was a battle, which began in a deadlock and ended in fits and starts after one hour and 53 minutes. “It was very difficult to play today at the best level. The day has not been easy with the air, but the matches have to be played with wind and without wind”, assured Alcaraz at the foot of the track, after adapting to the circumstances of the match.
Playing quickly against Bautista, solid and constant, is never a good option. With a gusty wind that did not allow him to hit the ball well, Alcaraz was giving up his service in the fifth game after 10 unforced errors. He had no choice but to put on his work overalls and in the face of the complications of the game he had to pull his master stroke, the drop shot, to start feeling comfortable. To problems, solutions. “I feel confident when I do one,” said the man from El Palmar, who with a lot of patience and skill recovered his serve, broke the one from Castellón in the eighth game and took a set of comings and goings: 6-3 in 54 minutes.
“I wanted my tennis to be brilliant in the first few games. I wanted to hit him hard and do winners, which he tried to do normally, but given the conditions that existed today, with a lot of wind, you have to know how to play with it. when he made me break In the fifth game I accepted what was happening and I put on my work overalls, passing more balls, working more on points and waiting for my opportunity”, reconstructed Alcaraz.
Once the bad drink has been overcome, the number two of the ranking seemed to come out with a different air and broke in the first game of the second set Bautista’s service, emotionally touched after wasting four balls of break. With less rainfall and more control, Alcaraz opted for more stationary and heavier tennis than usual, which Bautista took advantage of to recover the break. The roller coaster was repeated for the revelry of the stands.
The defending champion did not want the game to last longer. He broke the dynamic, went up a gear and took second set (7-5) and the game after suffering from a Bautista who clung to the track from the first ball to the last. “Today you had to run and run and hit more balls than your rival”, confessed an Alcaraz who will face this Friday (not before 4:00 p.m., Movistar) another Spaniard in the quarterfinals, Alejandro Davidovich, who he beat 6-4 and 7 -5 to Ruusuvori.
An encounter that will be another battle. “Charlie and I know each other quite a bit. Despite never having played, we have trained together and in the end it will be a great game. We both come very hungry, we want to give our best. He is at a great level and I am feeling better and better on the track, ”said Davidovich (number 38), who already knows what it is to beat a number one on clay: he beat Djokovic last year in the quarterfinals. Monte Carlo. “Favorite? Not at all because each game is different and millions of things can happen. I come to this type of tournament with the idea that I can win it and that I can lose in the first round”, observed Alcaraz.
It will not be the only derby on Friday. There will also be an Italian match between Jannik Sinner, who sweated to beat the Japanese Nishioka (6-1, 4-6 and 6-3) and Lorenzo Musetti, executioner of the British Norrie (6-4, 4-6 and 6-1). . Also in the quarterfinals will be Tsitsipas, who will face De Minaur after defeating Shapolalov 6-3, 6-2, while the Australian enjoyed the day off after Dimitrov’s last-minute loss.
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