French Open: Alcaraz bulldozes past Lorendo to reach second round
PARIS: Teenage sensation Carlos Alcaraz steamrolled past Argentine lucky loser Juan Ignacio Londero 6-4 6-2 6-0 to kick off his French Open campaign in solid, although imperfect, fashion on Sunday. The 19-year-old sixth seed, who won the Barcelona Open and the Madrid Masters in the run-up to Roland Garros, needed just one set to adjust to the immense Court Philippe Chatrier to set up a meeting with fellow Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas.
The teenager, who reached the third round as a qualifier last year in Paris, has taken the tennis world by storm this season with four titles and has arrived at the French Open established as one of the title favourites. He admitted, however, that his game needed some polishing after a tricky start to the match.
“I always say that you have to improve every day if you are the best player in the world. Not in my case,” he told a news conference. “But for example, Rafa (Nadal) says every day that he always improves every day. I would say I have to improve everything a little bit. You can improve everything every day, you know. And I would say everything. I have to improve everything.”
With the weight of expectation weighing on his shoulders, Alcaraz showed some signs of frustration as things got tense in the 10th game of the opening set, but the Spaniard bagged it on his first opportunity when Londero netted a routine backhand.
A wide forehand by Londero gave Alcaraz a break for 4-2 in the second set. His devastating forehand continued its demolition job on a sorry Londero, who misfired again on set point to give Alcaraz a definitive edge. The third set was a one-sided affair that lasted only half an hour as the sun set on the French capital.
“This tournament is very special, I’ve been watching it since I was a kid,” Alcaraz, who is in the same half of the draw as 13-time French Open winner Rafael Nadal and defending champion Novak Djokovic, told a courtside interviewer. “It took me a little while to find my range and to get used to the size of the court.”