The heroes of Flushing Meadows are decidedly tired. A few hours after Casper Ruud, US Open finalist, went off the track in Tokyo, the winner also left New York, this time at Nur-Sultan. Carlos Alcaraz was drafted by David Goffin, 66th in the world and from qualifying in Kazakhstan, in straight sets (7-5, 6-3) and 1h46, leaving the Murcian missing his great recovery on the circuit after his title the US Open. He has yet to win a tournament match in his new World No. 1 outfit.
And to think that he shouldn’t even play the big picture of this Astana Open. David Goffin more than used his second chance: he not only compensated for Holger Rune’s withdrawal, but also and above all offered himself the scalp of the new world tennis star. If he wasn’t adding too much, the Belgian’s smile after his winning match point said a lot: here’s a prestigious win that should do him great good as he struggles to find his best level.
World number one at 19: Alcaraz makes history
09/12/2022 at 00:13
34 unforced errors: Alcaraz never found the right fuel
Above all, it is important to recognize Goffin’s capital contribution. Masterful at raising – Alcaraz won less than one point in two from behind his first ball (48%) – he found his 20-year-old legs to regularly overtake his young rival. And he showed plenty of character to win a first set with twists and turns: after breaking the first set (1-2), he went up four games before seeing the Spaniard bounce back (from 5-2 to 5:5). And while you’d think he hated the dynamic, he gave a nudge to take control of the game once and for all.
So Alcaraz conceded a 5: 0 score from 5: 5, from which he could not recover, and saw himself in the lead with one set and a break (7: 5, 3: 0). So if Goffin was remarkable, the new boss of world tennis was clearly lacking in sensations. Coming to Kazakhstan without his mentor Juan Carlos Ferrero, he rushed a lot and committed 34 unforced errors, including 20 on the forehand, which is usually his main weapon. He frequently made the wrong decisions or executed his play patterns poorly, like a totally underhanded drop that gave Goffin the double break (7-5, 5-1).
Admittedly, the young Spanish prodigy had the merit of fighting to the end, clawing back one of his two late breaks and continuing to press 7-5 5-3 30/30. But Goffin, more enterprising (23 of 29 nets or 79% success) had solid shoulders to finish and will find Adrian Mannarino in the second round. As for “Carlitos”, he obviously still needs time to digest his flushing performance. For the first time this season, he didn’t win a single set in a match. At 19 he still has something to learn, and in a way fortunately.
Long live King Alcaraz!
9/11/2022 at 11:42 p.m
LIVE: Follow the final between Casper Ruud and Carlos Alcaraz
9/11/2022 at 8:06 p.m