Carlos Alcaraz successfully reappeared on the slopes after his victory at Wimbledon and he survived the euphoria and the celebrations to suffer and beat the Belgian David Goffin (4-6, 6-4 and 10-8 in the ‘super tie break’) in Spain’s second match of the Hopman Cup.
Alcaraz, visibly tired at the beginning, went from less to more to equalize a tie that began with a defeat for Spain Rebeka Masarova. She narrowly won, almost at the buzzer, and Goffin was one step away from taking down a player with incredible resilience.
And it is that, not yet a week after his undeniable success on the grass at Wimbledon, Alcaraz was reunited with clay to eFacing a tennis player who right now is out of the world ‘top 100’ but that before the start of the Hopman Cup he declared that he could perfectly be among the 50 best.
Alcaraz, at the first change, faced a difficult game. The defeat of Rebeka Masarova against Elise Mertens Shortly before the start of their match, they forced the Murcian tennis player to beat Goffin so that Spain would not lose their point and risk their future in the competition against the other rival in their group, Croatia.
The world number one donned the overalls and the courts of the Nice Lawn Tennis Club in Nice, where Goffin started emboldened with a break in the third game. The Belgian achieved a very sweet 0-40 and Alcaraz saved two break points to fall in the third with a trademark return from Goffin.
With 2-1 behind on the scoreboard, Alcaraz reacted quickly and added two consecutive games to get ahead in the match (3-2). However, it was a mirage. The Murcian was not fine. He played without pause, short points, without patience. Speed was not to his advantage. He needed more calm to face the points. Too much impatience.
Goffin took advantage of his rival’s weakness and managed to move up 5-4 and 40-0 with three match points. Alcaraz, against the ropes, let out an audible “no Carlos” when he missed a drop shot that gave the Belgian tennis player three set points. He saved two, but with an excellent rise to the net, Goffin took the first sleeve (6-4).
Alcaraz no longer had much margin. Neither does Spain. A loss in the second set would give victory to Belgium, who after losing to Croatia on Thursday needed to win no matter what. And, once again, Goffin surprised at the first substitution: he broke the Spaniard’s serve in the first game. And, furthermore, in the worst possible way, with a very inopportune double fault from the number one in the world.
Meanwhile, Goffin, now ranked 111 in the ATP ranking, was having fun on court. He showed the best version of him, the one with which he became a planetary ‘top ten’ (number 7 in 2017). He needed it to overcome Alcaraz, who also gave up the second game and needed to sweat it out to get back into the game.
His leg speed and physical strength began to give Goffin unforced errors. And finally, in the sixth game, Alcaraz got a break to tie the game 3-3. However, in a burst of pride, Goffin was still able to add one last break that was immediately returned by Alcaraz. With 4-4, the exchange of blows continued until the number one returned to subtract effectively to endorse his rival a blank game with which he won the second set (6-4).
Again, Spain risked its future in the ‘super tie break’‘. And again, at the decisive moment, like Masarova, Alcaraz started badly, with a 4-0 down that he equalized without ruffling. Then, the final exchange of blows began until the Murcian had a match point from the rest, which he took advantage of to win 10-8 and give Spain a tie, which will play the victory against Belgium in the doubles match.