Having learned the lesson from his debut, with a defeat against Alexander Zverev, Carlos Alcaraz improved in the life or death duel with Andrey Rublev (7-5 and 6-2) and leaves his options intact to reach the semifinals of the ATP Finals. He will play on Friday against fellow Russian Daniil Medvedev.
This Wednesday the Murcian forgot about the criticism of the speed of the track – the fastest on the circuit – and gave his best version in quite some time against Rublev, who lost his temper too soon.
The match was a succession of shots, quick blows with no time to rest and Rublev with his right hand is a cyclone. This time, Alcaraz did not allow himself any confusion or ups and downs, he maintained a constant rhythm and raised the level from 4-4, thanks to a masterful serve with which, in the first set, he only lost one point with the first serve.
Against Rublev, the speed of the court was a blessing, not a handicap. “I just had to realize that she is very fast and that you have to hit first, be more aggressive than your rival,” said the Murcian after the match.
From that 4-4, the first opportunities came to unbalance the score. The first, in that game, solved with an unstoppable serve from the Russian. The second, with 5-5, took the same fate. But the third did fall on the Spanish side. Rublev began to see demons and when the linesman, already 6-5 against, made him lose a point, he found himself in hell. His screams were accompanied by several swipes of the racket against his knee and a visit from the doctor to cover up the blood that was gushing out of him. The Russian had a set down and the head was gone. And with that mentality it was impossible against an Alcaraz much more suited to the conditions than the day against Zverev.
The second set was a hurricane from Alcaraz in which his aggressiveness played a fundamental role and also his aim. In just half an hour he hit seven winners and only allowed two unforced errors. Rublev did not take long to fall and also in two sets, which could be important in terms of being in the semifinals.
«I am very happy to get my first victory in the Masters. I played at a high level today after a first game that was very tough. I’m very happy with how I came back after that. I played a great game from the first ball to the last,” said Alcaraz at the foot of the court. «I had a very good feeling, I enjoyed the court and I improved a lot, it was a very different match. “I have been at another level, it is at the level I have to be against these beasts,” he added.
His next rival will be Medvedev. It will be the fifth meeting against the Russian, the third in 2023 after the Wimbledon semifinals (Alcaraz’s triumph) and the US Open semifinals (Medvedev’s victory).
«The key against Medvedev is to play a perfect match. You have to think your shots very well, be patient and be very aggressive, it’s a mix of everything if you want to beat him. That’s why he is one of the best in the world right now,” warned Alcaraz, who already has his first victory as a teacher and now wants many more.