Pump the brakes on Carlos Alcaraz! Billed as a future No. 1 and multi-Slam winner, Alcaraz was bounced out of the Monte Carlo Masters by Sebastian Korda 7-6(2), 6-7(5), 6-3.
In a marathon affair in the win, Alcaraz led with a break early in the third but errors got the best of him. Korda played solid down the stretch, fighting off break chances as the young teen who just won Miami couldn’t find the range.
“It was nice to get the victory today,” Korda said on court. “I stayed calm and believed in my returning. It was super tough, every time he threw up the ball it moved around. It was a crazy match.
“It was very tricky,” he added. “Up top it would go one way, and then it would kind of swoop down and tornado while you were playing. You never knew what you were going to get.”
Alcaraz suffered just his third defeat of the season. It was his first match in Monte Carlo.
“I’m a bit disappointed with myself. I had a lot of chances to be up in the match and close to winning, but these losses sometimes good to live. You have to play matches,” Alcaraz said. “But I didn’t think about the expectations that the people have me. I just focused on me and what I have to do. But as I said, you have to play more matches on clay courts.”
Alcaraz turns 19 in a month — his countryman Rafael Nadal won his first Monte Carlo at age 18 in 2005. He’ll head to Barcelona.
“I’m ready to back training and focus on the next tournaments,” Alcaraz said. “It [was] a tough match, but I think mentally I’m ready to play these kind of matches, long matches, and tough matches. I mean, mentally and physically, I’m ready.”
Former semifinalist Alexander Zverev opened play with a 6-1, 7-5 win over Federico Delbonis.
“This is the only Masters on clay I haven’t won yet, but I’m very motivated to do so,” said Zverev. “I’m very motivated to play great tennis and I hope I can show that on court this week.”
Twenty-year-old Lorenzo Musetti found some rare form toppling Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-2, 7-6(2). The favored Canadian led with a break in the second but couldn’t hold it.
“I live here and practice here,” Musetti told the crowd. “It is nice to be here and play here in front of such a crowd. I am really happy. My backhand down the line was a key to many of my great shots. After a really good first set, he came back with such powerful serving, but I was calm and patient and that was the most beautiful thing about today.”
Taylor Fritz posted a good win beating Marin Cilic. Casper Ruud held off Holger Rune and Andrey Rublev and Diego Schwartzman were winners.
Tomorrow, Zverev returns to face Pablo Carreno. Stefanos Tsitsipas continues his title defense against Laslo Djere and Rublev gets Jannik Sinner.
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