Jack Draper snorts, a mass of 193 centimeters and 85 kilos that the rattling ends up decomposing. His English suffers from so much coming and going, and his abdominal pain finally pays for it, protected with a tape beforehand; the musculature, between cotton, suffers and the young man from Sutton ends up taking a step to the side when 46 minutes of the game have elapsed and Carlos Alcaraz already leads by 6-2 and 6-0. The rival withdraws and the Spaniard consolidates his access to the quarterfinals of Indian Wells, in which he will face the Canadian Félix Auger-Aliassime (3-6, 6-3 and 7-6 (6) to Tommy Paul) . “Get well soon, Jack! (Get well soon!)”, number two stamps on the camera, who takes Alejandro Davidovich by the arm and harangues him: come on, friend, this is ours.
The 23-year-old Andalusian had resolved his duel with Chilean Cristian Garín a few hours before (6-3 and 6-4, in 1h 24m) and relapsed into his indecipherable character: you never know where he is going to come out. Capable of everything, of the best and of disconnecting in the blink of an eye, he offers these days the good profile and continues ahead in the tournament, which places him in an unknown position; next Monday he will appear as the 25th in the ATP – his best ranking since he established himself on the circuit three years ago – and this week’s journey reaffirms his potential. Paradoxically, until now he had only achieved access to the quarterfinals of a Masters 1000 on sand, in Monte Carlo (2021 and 2022), but he has tennis to surprise here and there, anywhere.
“I’m very happy. Now is the time to take a step forward and keep pushing”, says the man from Malaga, a player as versatile as he is complex, who also wins Wimbledon as a junior (2017), reaches the eighths of the US Open (2020 and 2022) or the quarterfinals from Roland Garros (2021), which disappears in the first rounds. “My priority is to be more solid”, he often repeats, in search of that regularity that clashes with his own nature. A tennis player with moments, impacts and enjoyment, ingenious and pleasing in the eyes of the fan, Fokina –his maternal surname, incorporated into the official name in the competition– envisions a more than considerable challenge this Wednesday, not before 11:00 p.m. (Movistar Deportes): His name is Daniil Medvedev, the owner of now.
“This track is an embarrassment to the sport. It should be forbidden to play here. And they call this a hard court… What a shame! I’m going to the bathroom slow, and I don’t care if I get warnings [amonestaciones]… If they allow us to play here, I’m going to allow myself to do whatever I want”, the Russian protested during the fight with the German Alexander Zverev, who decided in his favor by 6-7(5), 7-6(5) and 7-5, after 3h 17m. “This is not a fast track, I know what a fast track is… I am a specialist”, he reproached the chair umpire before chaining his 17th consecutive victory and thus placing himself three steps – the same as Alcaraz from number one – from lift their fourth title in a row after those in Rotterdam, Doha and Dubai.
“If 80 players come out and say that the court is too slow and that something has to be changed, it means that it is bad that it is not changed…”, he laments later in the conference room. “You can’t play your best tennis on a court like this. There have been some good points, but it’s probably the slowest hard track on the circuit. all the time there rallies [intercambios]”, he complained after the premiere on Saturday. “I don’t like my behavior; I think it actually distracts me and it would be better to just shut up and play, that’s what I should do, but at the same time, that’s how I am… ”, she analyzes with a cooler head, already focusing on the crossover with Davidovich. The Spaniard gave in the two precedents between the two: the recent one in Rotterdam and the one in 2021 in Madrid.
Hard bone for the Andalusian, companion of Alcaraz in California. During the three quarters of an hour that he has intervened in the first night shift, the Murcian has found everything he needs: a great start, magnificent blows and a favor in the misfortune of others, since Draper’s injury saves him mileage for the duel of the Thursday. With 5-1 down, the Englishman notices abdominal discomfort that is getting worse; he cannot serve and, despite resisting and trying to continue by all means, he raises the white flag. “Nobody likes to win like this, but tennis is hard and health is the most important thing,” recalls the man from El Palmar, who had obtained his 100th victory the day before and this time has his 25th in the Masters 1000, releasing the feeling that he is back at a higher level: “As I was playing games I was recovering my confidence. Yes, I would say that right now I am capable of winning the tournaments. I’m there, I’m one of the favourites”.
THE TIRELESS KVITOVA
AC | Madrid
While Iga Swiatek continues to exercise with an iron fist, firm against the young Emma Raducanu (6-3 and 6-1), the veteran Petra Kvitova has managed to break through to the quarterfinals. The 33-year-old Czech defeated third-seeded Jessica Pegula 6-2, 3-6, 7-6(11) and will face Greek Maria Sakkari. She will do so after becoming this week the player who has played the most matches in the WTA 1000 category tournaments: there are 264, to the 262 of the Danish Caroline Wozniacki.
Meanwhile, the day brought the surprising elimination of the French Caroline Garcia at the hands of another long-term player, Sorana Cirstea (6-4, 4-6 and 7-5), and the advances of Karolina Muchova (6-4, 6 -7(2) and 6-4), Elena Rybakina (6-3 and 6-0 against Varvara Gracheva) and one of the great candidates, Aryna Sabalenka (6-3, 2-6 and 6-4 against Barbora Krejcikova) .
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