French Open

Wrecking ball Alcaraz swings into French Open quarterfinals


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Wrecking ball Alcaraz swings into French Open quarterfinals

ELATED. Spain's Carlos Alcaraz celebrates winning his fourth round match against Italy's Lorenzo Musetti in the French Open.

Clodagh Kilcoyne/REUTERS

World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz demolishes Lorenzo Musetti to advance to the French Open last eight, with a potential mouthwatering semifinal clash against Novak Djokovic looming

World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz bulldozed his way into the French Open quarterfinals with a merciless 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 crushing of Italian Lorenzo Musetti on Sunday, June 4.

The 20-year-old Spaniard, whose maiden run at Roland Garros ended in the last eight 12 months ago, next faces Stefanos Tsitsipas, with a potential mouthwatering semifinal clash against Novak Djokovic looming.

On paper, Musetti had all the tools to unsettle Alcaraz – the touch, a superb backhand and a victory on clay in their only encounter. On court, however, the Italian had nothing to bother his opponent.

Alcaraz had way too much firepower and grit for the 17th seed, who also got tortured at the net at Court Philippe Chatrier.

“I had a high quality of shots, I played really aggressive and he played a complete match from the first point to the last so I’m happy to be through to the next round,” said Alcaraz, watched by his coach Juan Carlos Ferrero, who lifted the Musketeers Cup 20 years ago.

“I try not to think about being world No. 1 or the pressure. All these thoughts, I keep them out of my mind. I just want to enjoy myself, entertain the crowd, and smile. This is the key to everything.”

Such is Alcaraz’s level that he sometimes fancies looking at replays of his own shots just like tennis fans do.

“Some big shots I want to watch again in the screen during the match,” he said with a smile.

Musetti won the first two games of the match but it was all downhill from there as he hit a brick wall, Alcaraz finding the best defense in all circumstances and relentlessly attacking when he saw the tightest opening.

The Spaniard bagged five games in a row and the first set quickly before getting a 2-0 advantage in the second, finding gravity-defying angles and showing his outstanding skills at the net.

Musetti fought back for 2-2 but that was not enough to unsettle Alcaraz, who peppered the court with winners including jaw-dropping shots over, or around, the net.

US.Open champion Alcaraz won four games in a row to take the second set and finished his demolition job in the third.

Although he had been showing some of his best tennis in Paris, Musetti said that he was too passive on Sunday, even if he admitted the best player won.

“I was too worried about him. I was always too much in a rush during the game,” he told a press conference.

“I think it’s a pity because I was playing for sure my best tennis, and today maybe I didn’t take the chance that I had.”

The conclusion he drew from the match, however, was: “I think today he showed that he probably can win this tournament.” –

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