Alcaraz Survives Scare At Queen's Club
Carlos Alcaraz survived a major scare on Tuesday to earn victory on his Cinch Championships debut. The Spaniard rallied from a set down to move past French lucky loser Arthur Rinderknech 4-6, 7-5, 7-6(3) at the ATP 500.
Competing in his third tour-level grass-court event and first outside of Wimbledon, the top seed took time to adjust to the conditions. After dropping the first set, Alcaraz improved his movement on the slick London lawns. He used the drop shot effectively in the second set to level, before battling from a break down in the decider to advance after two hours and 34 minutes.
“It was really difficult for me at the beginning to adapt my tennis, my game to the grass,” Alcaraz said. “For me it is tough playing here but of course I enjoyed playing on the grass and playing at Queen’s. It is a tournament that I really wanted to play. It was a good performance from me on my first match on grass.
“I have never played a tournament except Wimbledon on grass and I wanted to play here. I have watched this tournament on TV and I always thought it looked like a beautiful place to play and be. I am enjoying every single second. The crowd was amazing and the court was unbelievable.”
The 20-year-old, who was playing for the first time since his Roland Garros semi-final defeat against Novak Djokovic, will next meet Jiri Lehecka after the Czech downed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 7-6(4), 6-3.
Alcaraz is chasing his fifth tour-level title of the season this week. If he lifts his maiden trophy on grass, he will return to No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.
Rinderknech caused Alcaraz problems throughout the thrilling clash in west London, repeatedly closing the net to pressure the top seed in their second ATP Head2Head meeting. The Spaniard found his best level when it mattered, though, scampering down a series of drop volleys in the third-set tie-break to improve to 36-4 on the season.
Alcaraz has captured 10 tour-level titles in his career and risen to No. 1. However, the 20-year-old has limited experience on grass, with his match against Rinderknech just his seventh on the surface. Last year the Spaniard missed Queen’s due to injury before he advanced to the fourth round at Wimbledon.
“I could not play tennis on grass at home but I could practise the movement on grass when at home. I came here a few days before to play here and practise a bit. I felt really good,” Alcaraz said.