Zverev, Alcaraz stave off match points at French Open; Nadal, Djokovic roll
Paris, May 25 (EFE).- Alexander Zverev and Carlos Alcaraz both found themselves a point away from defeat Wednesday at the French Open, but they found their highest level when it mattered most to advance to the third round.
The third-ranked Zverev went down two sets to love against 21-year-old Argentine Sebastian Baez before seemingly taking full control of the match by snatching sets three and four in convincing fashion.
But things turned complicated again late in the fifth set when the 25-year-old German faced a match point when serving down 4-5, 30-40.
Zverev, however, got out of trouble with a serve down the middle that Baez failed to put in the court.
After surviving that game, he then broke the Argentine’s serve in the 11th game and then clinched a 2-6, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, 7-5 victory in three hours and 36 minutes.
“You just have to find a way,” Zverev said of his comeback. “You talk about mental strength, you talk about … the greats, Roger (Federer), Rafa (Nadal), Novak (Djokovic), they always find a way in the most difficult moments.”
Also Wednesday, the sixth-ranked Alcaraz got a much sterner test than expected from fellow Spaniard Albert Ramos Viñolas but staved off a match point in the fourth set before eking out a 6-1, 6-7 (7-9), 5-7, 7-6 (7-2), 6-4 victory.
The 19-year-old phenom was on the brink of defeat with Ramos serving at 5-4 in the fourth set.
And although he got out of that jam, he then found himself down 0-3 in the fifth set before using his enormous firepower and jaw-dropping defensive skills to surge to victory.
“It has been a great battle against Albert. I knew this it was going to be a great match, tough match. We fought until the last point. I’m so happy with the performance today,” Alcaraz said afterward.
While Alcaraz struggled, two other tournament favorites moved through to the third round with relative ease.
Serbian world No. 1 and defending champion Novak Djokovic topped Slovakia’s Alex Molcan 6-2, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), while the fifth-ranked Nadal, winner of a record 13 French Open titles, moved through to the third round with a 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 victory over Frenchman Corentin Moutet.
With his victory, the 35-year-old Nadal achieved a new milestone – the 300th Grand Slam win of his storied career. EFE