Carlos Alcaraz advanced to the second round of the US Open after his rival, Sebastián Báez, was forced to withdraw due to injury. The Murcian was up two sets at the time his rival announced that he could not continue (7-5, 7-5), but both were very close and the two tennis players exchanged memorable blows.
Alcaraz, winner of four tournaments this yearincluding the Masters 1,000 in Miami and Madrid, lit up the Arthur Ashe court with spectacular tennis in the second matchup of his career with Báez, after beating him last year at the New Generation Masters in Milan.
The 21-year-old Argentine was playing high-level tennis and had a break in the second set, but a muscular problem suffered at the beginning of the third set prevented him from continuing to gamble his options.
He tried to call for medical assistance, but immediately realized that it was not a cramp, but a more serious injury.
It was a bad epilogue to a high-level match, with technical plays and displays of fantastic athletic preparation by both players.
Alcaraz, who can become number one in the world in this tournamentpunished Báez in the first set by breaking his serve for the only and decisive time in the twelfth game to take a 7-5 lead.
Giving up the first set like that didn’t dampen Baez’s confidence and the second set saw him quickly take a 2-0 lead, failing to defend it on serve.
The breaking balls were not lacking, up to 19 in the second set, and Alcaraz managed to annul eight of the ten he conceded. In particular, he overturned one with a wonderful intern between his legs to a standing ovation from the audience.
“I have always done well when I have played in big stadiums, I am looking forward to playing in Arthur Ashe, last year it was incredible. Sure when I play there I will enjoy“, assured in a press conference previous to this party. And it showed it this Tuesday.
Despite missing several shots, also, but not only, due to the sun, Alcaraz managed to recover a break from disadvantage and achieved a new break in the twelfth game that decisively unbalanced the match.
He closed the second set with a wonderful parallel right and accompanied that point with a cry of release.
Already in the third set, with Alcaraz a break ahead, Báez suffered a muscle injury that separated him from the US Open.
The Murcian will face in the second round the winner of the match between the Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor and the Argentine Federico Coria.
Alcaraz shares side of the draw in New York with his compatriot Rafa Nadal, with whom he could be measured in the semifinals.
Nadal, four times champion at Flushing Meadows, debuts this Tuesday against Australian Rincky Hijikata, number 198 in the world.
In other matches played this Tuesday, the also Spanish Garbiñe Muguruza defeated the Danish Clara Tauson 6-3 and 7-6(5).
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Alcaraz vs Báez in the first round of the US Open, live: last hour of the match and result