He shakes off Tallon Griekspoor, who has done almost everything right and still finds no reward. He misses the moment. He misses the train for the Dutchman and jumps on Carlos Alcaraz, who parks art for a day and bets on efficiency, synonymous with intelligence as he has gone through a very tricky first set that ends up being definitive. On days when finesse is lacking, control and know-how are well worth it, and under this double argument the Spaniard is made (7-6(4) and 6-3) with the pass to the round of 16 in Indian Wells, in which He will face off at dawn from Tuesday to Wednesday (2:00, Movistar Deportes) with the Englishman Jack Draper, another young man who is also beginning to make people talk and who is growing up without getting lost.
Alcaraz celebrates because the record indicates that this March 14, resolved in his favor in 1h 40m, is a special day. She is 19 years old, has already made it to the top after winning a major and now has 100 victories in the 132 games he has played on the ATP circuit. Only John McEnroe did it faster –same age, but in 131 games– and surpasses the records of the three Tenors, Rafael Nadal (19 years and 137), Novak Djokovic (20 and 143) and Roger Federer (20 and 169). In any case, no one was more precocious than the indecipherable Björn Borg, who at 17 – with 149 duels – became a centenary in the elite when he beat Marty Riessen in the third round in Rome. Tennis now opens the way for the boy from El Palmar, forced to chew victory.
The latter arrives with more skill than brilliance because for an hour, which extends a bloody and uncomfortable first set for the Murcian, Griekspoor (36th in the world) has subjected him to a test of temperance and tightrope walking, of not losing his balance. From whiplash to whiplash, based on scratching and scratching, the Dutchman seeks to open a path that cunningly annuls Alcaraz, who understands that history should not be resolved with a clean ball, but rather head-on. That’s why he interprets and reduces a gear, and that’s when the rival short-circuits and gives way. It happens in the tie-breaker, accurate moment to mark the defining turn of the game. One can be in a hurry, and the other digs a mental tunnel that leads him to the eighths.
Griekspoor, 26, is a fearless tennis player who shoots and explores with the serve, but his brave gamble only earns him a couple of well-aborted break options. The Dutchman had won the only precedent on a hard court, Montpellier, two years ago, but this time he ran into the effective version of the Spaniard, who without hurting his serve and without cutting edge to the rest, won the tiebreaker and definitively broke the pulse. From there, a pleasant resolution. Four wins away from recovering number one – in the possession of Djokovic, absent in California for not being vaccinated against COVID-19 – and with no time to catch his breath, he will face left-handed Draper in the next season of the tournament, a stem of 1.93 that he tutored Nadal two months ago in Melbourne, where he scratched him a set when shooting; Theoretical heir to Andy Murray, this Monday he defeated the Scotsman 7-6 (6) and 6-2.
“It’s really good,” describes Alcaraz, who left his first mark on the elite in 2020, when he saw Albert Ramos on the sand in Rio de Janeiro at the age of 16. “Yes, a lot has happened since then. I am very proud to have achieved 100”, he values as the story rewinds and illuminates the Brazilian episode, and especially the subsequent ones in Umag (first title), Melbourne (first victory in a Grand Slam, against Van de Zandschulp), New York (first before a top-10against Stefanos Tsitsipas), Milan (Masters of Promises), Marbella (Davis Cup, against Marius Copil), Miami (first Masters 1000), Barcelona (first Godó), Madrid (Nadal and Djokovic) and the US Open, witness of his first big hit and the most youthful throne.
Badosa falls to 29th place
Sledgehammer in hand, the Murcian player continues to shatter history and at 19 years old he is already a centenary on the ATP circuit, where three years ago it was warned that his first track record in Rio de Janeiro –against Albert Ramos, on clay– corresponded to a true prodigy and that this was not another irruption. The boy was 16 years old and the Catalan, who was twice his age and accumulated 13 courses of shooting in the elite, could not stop the irrepressible: tennis was contemplating the official birth of a star. He came a jewel, and here is.
“I like to play very aggressively, with a lot of winners. My style is more or less Federer’s”, he described himself then, with the first win on the card. “When I spend time with great tennis players like Rafa [Nadal]Juan Carlos [Ferrero, su técnico] or any other player, I don’t say anything. I listen to everything they say because it is very valuable to me”, added the man from El Palmar, whose race is taking place at a dizzying pace. That kid today holds various precocity records, including the earliest rise to number one, and now he reaches another special number at a breakneck pace.
He heads the poster for the round of 16, which also includes the name of Alejandro Davidovich. The man from Malaga, 23 years old and 28th in the classification, will face the Chilean Cristian Garin (97th) starting at 7:00 p.m. (Movistar). She could not overcome the Paula Badosa barrier, who did not finish recovering her flight and was brought down by the Kazakh Elena Rybakina (6-3 and 7-5, in 1h 35m). Champion of the tournament in 2021 and semifinalist last year, the Catalan accused the seven double faults that she committed and the excess of tension; her defeat – fourth in the last five games she has played – relegates her from 22nd position to 29th. In April she shone on the second rung.
THE FASTEST CENTENNIALS
AC | Madrid
1.- John McEnroe (USA): 100-31.
2.- Carlos Alcaraz (ESP): 100-32.
3.- André Agassi (USA): 100-35.
4.- Rafael Nadal (ESP): 100-37.
5.- Mats Wilander (SUE): 100-38.
.- Jimmy Connors (USA): 100-38.
6.- Boris Becker (ALE): 100-40.
7.- Lleyton Hewitt (AUS): 100-41.
.- Andy Roddick (USA): 100-41.
8.- Novak Djokovic (SER): 100-43.
.- Juan Carlos Ferrero (ESP): 100-43.
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