Carlos Alcaraz has come back from everything. Arm tensed after a perfect start, the 19-year-old Spaniard played backwards for nearly three sets. Until passing close to elimination when his compatriot got a match point in the fourth set. But Albert Ramos-Vinolas missed the opportunity and revived his younger brother, who with courage and rage, went for a decisive fifth set. He started it badly. Led 3-0, he finally had the last word at the end of the suspense (6-1, 6-7 5-7, 7-6 6-4) and qualified for the third round of Roland-Garros.
For the longest game of his career (4h34), the prodigy from Murcia went through absolutely all the states. Sovereign in a first set dominated from start to finish, which foreshadowed a second match as quiet as his first, Alcaraz got tense. The talented Spaniard, amazing on the circuit in recent months (titles in Rio, Miami, Barcelona, Madrid) was unrecognizable and multiplied the unforced errors more than reason (74 in all) while being sorely lacking in success on his occasions (8/31 on his break points).
Monstrous points in the fifth set
Being among the three main favorites of this 2022 edition with Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, Alcaraz had to breathe the air from the precipice before reacting. It took Ramos-Vinolas getting a match point at 5-4 in the fourth set and missing it with a tasteless forehand for the fire to return to the arm of Juan Carlos Ferrero’s protege. From there, the survivor pushed like never before and cornered his opponent on his serve at 6-5. The game lasted more than ten minutes and if Ramos-Vinolas held on, it was to crack better afterwards in this tie-break dominated without contest by Alcaraz (7-2).
At two sets everywhere, the young Spaniard seemed to have taken the upper hand. But he experienced a terrible air pocket and let slip the first three games of this decisive round. Back to the wall again, he stormed the court and multiplied the dantesque points, including a huge one-handed backhand at the end of a passing race. This wonder allowed him to redo his late break and he quickly regained the lead in these last moments (from 0-3 to 4-3).
His last impatience made it possible to extend the match by a few extra minutes, but it was he who made the decision and dismissed everything, as on this spectacular point of defense which disgusted Ramos-Vinolas, author of two smashes, in vain, before crack on the fly. When it was finally time to serve to win the match, Alcaraz showed he had nerves of steel. Three aces to validate his qualification for the third round in an indescribable atmosphere. “I felt like I was playing at home”he delivered to the microphone, once his success was assured.