If Carlos Alcaraz ever wondered what it would be like to play against himself, now he knows. Because against the surprising Hungarian Fabian Marozsan (23 years old, 135th), the Spaniard played as if facing a mirror. There were forehands in the form of lightning fists, returns released at 150 km / h, drop shots in exemplary timing and perfect coverage, but it was all Marozsan’s work. The Hungarian, from the qualifications, gave the impression of mastering his “Tennis according to Alcaraz” even better than the author of the book.
Jostled from the first exchanges, Alcaraz conceded a white break on a new destructive forehand (3-1). Unable to find the key to the opponent’s game, he could only throw disillusioned glances at his box where Juan Carlos Ferrero did not wear the smile of the great days. The one who will be world No. 1 when the next ATP ranking is published was trying to hit his opponent’s backhand, a blow on which he was visibly less solid, but while looking for the length, the Spaniard made mistakes far too often. The win of the first set by Marozsan was quite logical as he had flown over this initial round. The question was whether the state of grace would last.
Marozsan reverses the tie-break
For a few games, this was the case. Taking speed in the exchange the current world No. 2, Marozsan once again took the service of Alcaraz to lead 4-3. The earth was not far from shaking in Rome. But Alcaraz has the win pegged to the body. He broke in stride and his howl at the end of the game would have been no different if he had won the match at that moment. Yet he was far from it. If he gave a little more, Marozsan did not relax his grip. Always determined to deprive a player of reaction time of which it is precisely the punishment he likes to inflict on his opponents, the Hungarian pushed Alcaraz to a decisive game.
The Spaniard quickly came away 4-1 there and you could think he was turning things around. But Marozsan won the next six points to sign a major feat on Roman soil. In the round of 16, he will have no complex to feed against Borna Coric, seeded n°15. Alcaraz will have to digest the frustration and focus on Roland-Garros where he will be seeded n°1.