Madrid Masters 2023: And after the scare of the premiere, Alcaraz tunes up against Dimitrov | Sports

Dedicated, Carlos Alcaraz explains to Àlex Corretja at the foot of the track that he has fulfilled the task. After the difficult debut on Friday, in which for a long time he played with fire, uninspired, the Murcian recovered the whip and punished the Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov: 6-2 and 7-5, 1h 30m. He thus enters the second week of the Madrid Masters and sends a message, in case anyone trusted that the slump could be prolonged. “I am a player who learns from what he has done wrong, and there were many things to improve. Yesterday we trained on certain things and it was clear to us that I had to enjoy myself again. That has been the key”, he remarked with satisfaction, aware that now he will have to make another leap in level to overcome Alexander Zverev, whom he beat in the final a year ago and who in the morning got rid of the Frenchman Hugo Grenier in 57 minutes (6-1 and 6-0).

“Winning comes first. I love to play tennis, but I have that winning gene inside, and I always want to win anyway. If things don’t work out, you have to find a way to win, ”he says. “Today was a very complete game, I played very well, I moved well and I hit him well. I have not lost my essence, which is to play aggressive and with big shots. This game gives me a lot of confidence for what is to come ”, he continues after signing a convincing victory, without cracks. Fun and productive set-up. The one in front collaborates.

One thinks of Dimitrov, watches him hit that immaculate, flat and perfect backhand early, and inevitably fantasizes and imagines what could have been, but is not. A pity about the Bulgarian, delicious to the eye and exquisite from a plastic point of view, as beautiful to see as it is prone to come undone and return to earth all those who one day guessed in him –31 years old now– the white brand of Roger Federer, a kind of reproduction of the Swiss genius. From an aesthetic, purely academic angle, there is probably no more polished tennis player than him, but since this is about competing and not just about beauty or who makes it prettier, the old crush simply ends up being that: a passing dream.

His gait and his disposition as soon as he stepped on the arena of the Madrid headquarters were already those of a defeated tennis player, as if he had lowered his arms beforehand. Nothing to do with that thunder that fell in 2013 on the same track, at dawn and before Novak Djokovic himself. Dimitrov was 21 years old and was going to conquer the world, he told himself. A decade later, already in his thirties and in a permanent lack of definition, the Bulgarian continues to be just as seductive, but his tennis is not enough for him to go beyond the occasional flash. He feinted in 2017, when he won the Masters Cup and took a bite out of the Cincinnati cement, but after ascending to the podium of the circuit – number three, after the achievement at the O2 in London – he was hopelessly deflating until today.

endless hibernation

In the opposite direction, Alcaraz did not insinuate, but broke down the door without giving prior notice. The Murcian, a player of a different stature, also exquisite but with an infinitely sharper instinct, resolutely continues to do his thing, which basically means devouring history. He already has a great one, he has already been number one, he already holds several records and there is no one who dares to put shackles on his ambition. He is 19 years old and infinitely hungry. He doesn’t tremble. He is, in some way, what Dimitrov dreamed of being in his day, who this Sunday could only settle for stretching out the duel a bit and seeing first-hand the magnitude of the player that everyone points to and who is intuits as the next great dominator.

If he does not suffer forgetfulness or altitude sickness, if his body respects him, the Murcian can leave a more than deep mark, what some imagined for Dimitrov in his day. He left the court with the consolation of having defeated him at least in the second set, when he had already given ground and spread the carpet. But little more. He is still immersed in an endless hibernation. He achieved a break that the Spaniard canceled immediately, like the blow of his tail that scares away flies, and from there, a monologue: a 5-1 run and a sweet step towards the round of 16 on Tuesday, in which he will face the ascendant Zverev; 3-1 favorable to the German, precisely beaten last season in Madrid.

“It’s going to be totally different from last year’s final. He is playing very well, today he has passed over Grenier; we have already trained here and he beat me the set. Everybody knows what a great player he is and what a great shot he has. We will try to dominate, as always. I want to measure myself with him ”, he concluded. He had to improve and correct the one in El Palmar. And so he did. Fine-tuned, he recovered his biorhythms and got back on the right track.


AC | Madrid

Alejandro Davidovich joined Alcaraz and Jaume Munar in the round of 16, who had never won three straight games in a Masters 1000. The Spaniard won 3-6, 6-3 and 6-1 (after 2h 04m), and will face the Tuesday to German Daniel Altmaier, 92nd in the world.

However, the high point of the day paradoxically occurred at dawn, when Davidovich overcame the Dane Holger Rune. The Andalusian prevailed (7-6(1), 5-7 and 7-6(5) in a very rough fight, led by tension following an episode with video arbitration.

With 3-3, the Spaniard protested when he understood that the last serve of the Nordic had not entered. However, the image provided by the system showed that the ball had bounced over the line. Outraged, Davidovich –quoted with Borna Coric– exploded before the chair umpire, Carlos Bernardes.

“Don’t fuck with me, it’s been bad! call the supervisor [de pista]that I am not going to play with the FoxTenn [nombre comercial del dispositivo]; they have screwed me there and there. I don’t care about the machine, I’m not going to play. Can’t you see it’s a mistake? You are there to correct and you are not doing it… ”, she lamented.

Meanwhile, in the center it was interpreted that during the review, Rune stepped on the mark to erase it, which angered the stands and his rival. Finally, the game continued, as fans gave Rune loud whistles and celebrated every one of his mistakes.

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