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Carlos Alcaraz exits Montreal after seeing a match point go begging in his opening match.

Carlos Confession: 'I Couldn't Handle It'

Spaniard says loss to Paul was "a fight with myself"

Playing at the National Bank Open Presented by Rogers as the World No. 4 and the tournament's second seed, Carlos Alcaraz said he struggled for the first time with the pressure of his lofty status on the ATP Tour.

On Wednesday in Montreal, the 19-year-old lost a match point in the second set and dropped a 6-7(4), 7-6(7), 6-3 decision to American Tommy Paul.

"I felt the pressure to be the No. 2 seed in this kind of tournament, No. 4 in the world," Alcaraz said in his post-match press conference. "It was the first time that I felt that pressure, and I couldn't handle it.

"All I can say from this match is I have to train, I have to be ready to have this pressure, to have these kinds of moments, and to learn how to handle it. That's all I can say right now."

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Alcaraz surrendered a break advantage in the second set and could not convert on his match point on return at 7/6 in the second-set tie-break. While he expected a tough opening match in his first hard-court event since winning the Miami title in April, he was upset with the result and his inability to produce his best tennis.

"I could say I couldn't show my best performance here," he said, earlier calling Paul a deserved winner. "But as I said, first rounds, you have to fight against your opponent and of course against yourself. Obviously it was tough to handle those moments knowing that I'm not playing my 100 per cent, let's say... It was a fight with myself."

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The Spaniard's position as World No. 4 is under threat this week from Stefanos Tsitsipas and Casper Ruud, who could both pass him by reaching the Montreal final.

Alcaraz now turns his attention to Cincinnati, where he made his debut as a qualifier last summer, losing to Lorenzo Sonego in the opening round.

"Right now, I think I [will] spend one day here in Montreal and then be focussed on Cincinnati," he said. "I have to train, as I said, to take lesson from this match, trying to be 100 per cent for Cincinnati."

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