Miami Masters 2024: Carlos Alcaraz, riding the back of inertia | Tennis | Sports


Carlos Alcaraz does not let up, fun and serious at the same time. Thrown out. Still riding that fantastic wave he caught in Indian Wells and is still surfing a week later, in Miami. The balls tremble, worn out by the humidity and, above all, by the constant slaps of the Murcian, as violent as he is sophisticated in his hitting: as soon as he bursts the ball he traces a millimetric and delicate stroke, or he stops time. He does everything, and he does almost everything well on this Saturday in which Roberto Carballés, a great tennis player and magnificent guy, laughs as he sprints to try to return one of those balloons. Legs and more legs, because he is very fast, but nothing to do. The parable is perfect, he nods and wonders: How the hell does he do it? Afterwards, the score resulted in the final 6-2 and 6-1 (in 1h 25m) and the Murcian savored another victory. The valuable routine of these days.

“I feel very good physically and mentally. Being comfortable, calm and at peace off the track is essential,” he commented two days before the premiere, after having won his second trophy in Indian Wells and having left behind a period of curves and doubts, now overcome. Carlitos enjoys it again and transmits it in every intervention, categorically the six in California – he gave up only one set, in the premiere against Arnaldi – and this first in Florida as well; resolved, of course, in her own way, based on whips and caresses, and with that innate and genuine ability to freeze the moment, as in that action in which the ball reaches her calmly and at mid-height, she reverses herself to load the shot and connects a winner with the right that reaches 172 km/h and starts the onomatopoeia from the stands. Again, he delight and fascination: “Ohhhhhhh!”.

Little can be done before this Alcaraz with rhythm and inspiration. Guaranteed storm for the one in front. Ask Zverev, Sinner, Medvedev. Or Carballés, of course. Having overcome that last stretch of instability, of not being completely comfortable on and off the track, the number two once again fully enjoys and resolves the duels as he pleases, as if he had turned on autopilot and it doesn’t matter if he can. propose the one opposite. Praiseable for the man from Granada, who in the face of the downpour that falls on him and the more than likely defeat that is looming, does not hide or shy away, but quite the opposite: let’s play, let’s play. The outcome is predictable, but the journey offers some beautiful exchanges and a tuya-mine from which Alcaraz almost always comes out on top; that is, the superior.

“In the end, my game is my game,” he simplifies. “I have that range of shots that allows me to be more attacking or defensive at any time, playing flat or more topspin balls. I have that variety and I think it’s good,” El Palmar continues with satisfaction, once again boiling, once again intimidating; Five breaks and three refusals – the only three that the rival has earned, all three in his first turn of service – guide him to the next station, in which he will collide with Gael Monfils or Jordan Thompson. He does it based on rhythm and more rhythm, changing gears when it suits him and unleashing 18 winning blows, compared to Carballés’s seven, overwhelmed by so many demands that he did not give in. He fights everything, but there is no way. Not in the face of such a show of force.

“I saw him for the first time when I was 15 years old, in Murcia. He was skinny, but he had a ball speed that was not normal for his age. And he is still the same as he was then,” observes the Andalusian – born due to circumstances in Tenerife –, while Miami offers a host of challenges to the champion of two years ago.

If he wins on the 31st, Alcaraz would raise his sixth Masters 1000 and equal Daniil Medvedev, the best of the mortal active; He would also become the eighth tennis player to win the tournament more than once, something that has not happened since the Scot Andy Murray achieved it for the second time, in 2013; In addition, he would reduce Novak Djokovic’s income on the throne to less than 300 points, with the clay court tour just around the corner; and, to round it off, he would sign a double —Sunshine DoubleIndian Wells and Miami in a row—which in the men’s category have only been achieved by Jim Courier (1991), Michael Chang (1992), Pete Sampras (1994), Marcelo Ríos (1998), Andre Agassi (2001), Roger Federer (2005, 2006 and 2017) and Nole (2011, 2014, 2015 and 2016).

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