Alcaraz Turns The Tables On Korda In Paris
Spaniard to face Khachanov in fourth round
The sixth-seeded Spaniard fell to Korda last month in Monte Carlo, his only clay-court loss this year, but it was Alcaraz’s night in Paris as he completed a convincing 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 win to reach the fourth round. In what was also a rematch of last year’s championship match at the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals, Alcaraz hammered 24 winners and broke Korda four times to advance in two hours and six minutes.
“It’s amazing to play in such a great atmosphere. I think the people enjoyed the match and I’m glad to play in front of such a good crowd,” said Alcaraz in his on-court interview. “In the early matches, I’m trying to have fun out there. I love playing tennis and playing on these courts, so I’m enjoying every second.”
It was a significantly shorter night than his second-round match on Wednesday with Albert Ramos-Vinolas. The 19-year-old saved a match point in the fourth set against his fellow Spaniard before forcing a deciding set and ultimately prevailing after four hours and 34 minutes.
A lengthy recovery process immediately following the match paid dividends against Korda. Showing no signs of his brutal battle two days earlier, Alcaraz scampered about the court and leaned into his powerful groundstrokes with full force.
"I would say that I'm aggressive all the time," said Alcaraz. "It doesn't matter if I'm losing, winning, tough moment, tough match, I keep my style the whole match."
Alcaraz secured the first break of the night just nine minutes into play, ripping a forehand winner for a 2-1 lead. While the American was pushed to the brink in most of his service games, Alcaraz continued holding comfortably and served out the set on his first attempt.
Korda had two chances to break Alcaraz at 2-1 in the second set, but succumbed to his opponent’s aggressive play on both. One game later, the sixth seed yelled in delight after hitting a forehand winner to break Korda. Showing that he’s still adding new tools to his game, Alcaraz served-and-volleyed three times while serving for the set at 5-4 and went on to take a commanding lead.
The Spaniard turned up the heat in the final stages of the match, reeling off five consecutive games and five straight baseline winners to wrap up play. Alcaraz didn’t face a break point throughout the night.
Awaiting Alcaraz in the next round is No. 21 seed Karen Khachanov, who took out No. 10 seed Cameron Norrie 6-2, 7-5, 5-7, 6-4. Khachanov let slip a 4-2 lead in the third set, but regrouped strongly to advance in three hours and 37 minutes.
Although the 26-year-old arrived to Paris with a 4-5 record on clay this season, his most consistent Grand Slam success has come at this event. Khachanov reached the quarter-finals in 2019 and the fourth round on three other occasions.
"I just practised with him once, but I've watch other matches from him, so I know that it's going to be a tough match," said Alcaraz. "But at the same time, he's a tough opponent and I like those matches."