Miami Masters 2024: Alcaraz, through optimism: “It has been a very positive month” | Tennis | Sports

With the spontaneity typical of his age, Carlos Alcaraz recognized in the Spanish early hours of Thursday that Grigor Dimitrov, one of those tennis players who are already back – 12 years older than him, 20 compared to 32 – had made him regress towards adolescence , when he was a junior: “Right now I’m very frustrated because he made me feel like I was 13 years old. He would talk to my team and tell them that he didn’t know what to do, that he had no weaknesses.” The one from El Palmar, recent champion in Indian Wells and exhibiting a delicious level of play, was absolutely launched, but in the quarterfinal duel against the Bulgarian (6-2 and 6-4, in 1h 32m) a double circumstance came together: the inspiration of one and the mist of the other.

Dimitrov, who has been warning for a long time and already reduced the Murcian during the fall, in Shanghai, offered an impeccable and brave performance, based on less is more. After the match, the semi-finalist said that this week he had preferred to invest fewer hours in training and that just when he was going to press the play to review the match between the two in China, resolved in three sets, he decided not to do so to avoid possible interference during the fight, taking into account that the context had nothing to do with it. “It was in Asia, on a different track and climate. Everything was different, so I chose to come here and start from scratch,” said the Bulgarian, who opted for a full-fledged approach – taking away time to hit, biting the rest – and he was right. As Alcaraz emphasized, he embroidered it.

“I want to see the metrics, but I would say that he played a game of 9.9 or 10,” the number two sensed. He was close. The data raised the performance of his rival to 9.4, which also coincided with the lack of ideas that he found himself in front of. In tow, Alcaraz, could not and did not know how to turn the situation around. This time, he lacked a plan B. Overwhelmed by Dimitrov’s determined proposal, he dropped quickly and suffered with the serve; and that, today, is practically a condemnation. He alone was able to retain 56% of the points played under his first serves and his effectiveness with that first hit was reduced to 58%. Throughout this North American tour on cement, his average in this last sense has been 68.6% – with peaks of 81% and minimums of 57%, on the first day against Arnaldi, in California -, and the The slump penalized him greatly because the victory at the end – from 4-1 to 4-4 in the second set – ended in ruins.

Despite everything, Alcaraz prefers to take a panoramic view of his time in North America, where he leaves with one more trophy, his fifth Masters 1000, and above all having reestablished his confidence after a few difficult months in which, he emphasizes, I wasn’t enjoying it too much. In Indian Wells he knocked down opponents of the caliber of Zverev and Medvedev, and also Jannik Sinner, who pushes and does not stop. In clear rise, his level was sustained in the Florida commitments and he hopes that the episode against Dimitrov will remain a mere accident. The Bulgarian intercepted him with a sublime performance and the balance is encouraging, when not long ago he was surrounded by doubts and results wielded from the outside, since he had not lifted a trophy since Wimbledon.

“I am leaving the United States happy, with good feelings. It has been a very positive month, feeling how I have felt,” she noted. “The only thing I can reproach myself for is not having scored first. But he has played very well and defended in a spectacular way; He has passed me by and I have to give him credit, but I am leaving with good feelings. Now I really want to start the dirt tour in Europe,” said the young Spaniard. Now he will return to Murcia and will soon begin playing on clay, although he must still decide with his team whether to participate in Monte Carlo (starting on April 7), or delay his reappearance until Barcelona, ​​where he triumphed in the last two editions. In any case, the Alcaraz that returns is not the same one that landed a little over a month and a half ago on the other side of the Atlantic. Optimistic by nature and tending to always see the glass half full, he assures that he will face the spring ladder with renewed strength.

SINNER, ON THE LOOK FOR SECOND PLACE

A.C.

The loss against Dimitrov caused an immediate loss of 160 points for Alcaraz, last year’s champion. Consequently, Sinner now has the possibility of unseating him in second place in the ranking. The Italian, two years older than him, overwhelmed Daniil Medvedev in the first semifinal on Saturday (6-1 and 6-2, in 1h 09m) and will achieve his goal if he wins the final prize in Miami.

His harassment will require Alcaraz to have a high performance on the clay court tour, since he did not score a large number of points in last year’s tour – semi-finals in Monte Carlo, quarter-finals in Barcelona, ​​round of 16 in Rome and second round at Roland Garros. — and the Murcian will have to defend the successes in Godó and Madrid, in addition to the semifinals in Paris.

The Spaniard will be able to earn a notable figure if he participates in Monte Carlo, where he did not parade a year ago, and also in the Foro Italico, where he lost in the thirty-second.

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