The matches between Carlos Alcaraz and Dan Evans are becoming some of the most entertaining on the circuit. The British, with his one-handed backhand and his offensive game towards the net, has learned to test Alcaraz, who in their duel at the Shanghai Masters 1,000 emerged victorious after an eternal first set of an hour and a half (7- 6 (1) and 6-4).
In his second match in the Chinese city, Alcaraz beat Evans, who already took a set from him in the last US Open and who has known how to hurt the Murcian with a style of play that is practically impossible to see in current tennis .
The English player is capable of moving quickly to the net and of both attacking and defending with the sliced backhand. Despite Alcaraz’s ability to adapt against players with a one-handed backhand (he has won 22 of 23 matches against players who use this shot), Evans started with great strength and consistency. He went 1-4 up after a horrible game serving the Spaniard and after he lost a 19-minute game in which he had six break points to recover from the deficit.
That game, one of the longest of the year, did not dent the Spaniard’s morale, as soon as he found himself 1-4 down he came back to 4-4 and, despite the fact that he came close to making a complete comeback, by wasting two more breaking balls with two poorly played forehands, he couldn’t tip the set until the tie break.
There were no doubts, Alcaraz played it perfectly and swept 7-1 that anticipated a much calmer second set, after an hour and a half scuffle.
But the first set did not exhaust Evans, who did not stop running from one side of the court to the other and took the lead again when he broke Alcaraz’s serve with a moving passing.
Alcaraz, who finished 3 of 15 on break points, returned the break immediately and then saved the most dangerous game of the match. He raised a 0-40 and a fourth chance for Evans to take off again in the set.
The psychological game
The Murcian’s problems with his service finally ended and he began to wait for his moment to close the match. Evans gave up on the psychological game, when he went 5-4 down and had serve to stay alive. With a winning backhand return and a scream of rage, Alcaraz certified the fourth victory in a row against the British, but one of the most difficult.
“Outside of the Grand Slams, it was one of my most complicated matches,” said the Spaniard, who finished on the court around 10:00 p.m. in Shanghai and after a match that lasted almost two and a half hours.
The one from El Palmar will have to return to play in the round of 16 this Tuesday, when he will face the Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, who beat Karen Khachanov and who has always lost against Alcaraz. The Murcian defeated him, without losing a single set, in Paris-Bercy 2022, in Madrid 2023 and at Queen’s this same year.