Carlos Alcaraz, world No.2, qualified calmly for the round of 16 of the Indian Wells Masters 1000, beating 7-6 (7/4), 6-4 the Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor (36th), Monday evening in California.
The Spaniard, winner of the US Open 2022, first took his time to gauge his opponent, who resisted him in the first set, managing to erase two break points. But in the decisive game, Alcaraz accelerated the pace, pushing Griekspoor to the fault who ended up suffering too much and therefore folding. And in the process, he broke it at the start of the second set. With this advantage, the 19-year-old Spaniard had no trouble controlling his end of the match, imposing increasingly long and painful rallies on his opponent, to finish in 1h41. Physically, Alcaraz appeared very leggy. His right hamstring pain, which has reappeared in recent weeks, seems to be just a bad memory. He suffered an injury there in January, which forced him to forfeit the Australian Open.
In the Californian desert, where he was only stopped in the semi-finals last year by Rafael Nadal, the prodigy from Murcia is aiming for a double shot. Since winning the tournament would allow him to return to the world throne, where Novak Djokovic is, prevented from participating in the event because not vaccinated against Covid. On his way, in 8th, will stand the Briton Jack Dr (56th), winner 7-6 (8/6), 6-2 of the Scottish Andy Murray (55th).
Stanislas Wawrinka, 100th in the world in search of his past glory at 37, joined the round of 16 in Indian Wells on Monday, dominating Holger Rune (8th), 18 years his junior. A shock that kept its promises, with good points and a bit of electricity as a bonus. Because the two players had a small history, dating back to last November, when the Dane had beaten the Swiss at Bercy, saving three match points, on the road to his first title in a Masters 1000. At the time, the behavior of the winner on the court had annoyed the loser, who had told him: “I advise you to stop being the baby on the court“. This time, the old lion made the young wolf bend. But he believed in a curse about to strike, when Rune erased another match point at 5-4 in the second set, before winning the tie-break.
The three-time Grand Slam winner (Australian Open 2014, Roland-Garros 2015, US Open 2016) did not hesitate, because his tennis of the day was right. Unleashing a few more setbacks of which he has the secret, “Stan the Man“, who continued to dictate the pace, ed his opponent, to finish 6-2, 6-7 (5/7), 7-5 in 2:40. Whereupon, Rune threw at him at the moment of the handshake: “you have nothing to say to me now?“. “What do you want me to tell you?“, replied the finalist of the tournament in 2017. Ambience.
Wawrinka, who remains on two quarters in Marseille and Rotterdam, where he estimated “having played his best tennis in months“, confirms this revival in the Californian desert, he who tries to reconnect with his best level after two seasons marred by injuries. He will face the Italian Jannik Sinner (13th) or the Frenchman Adrian Mannarino (68th).
Taylor Fritz (5th) crushed him 6-1, 6-2 from the Argentinian Sebastian Baez (35th), despite a wind appearing as his real opponent in this meeting. “It is really difficult to manage. On the one hand, you have to hit the ball much harder to get it over the net. On the other, you have to be careful, or you risk sending the ball too far“, he explained. Other qualified, the Canadian Felix Auger-Aliime (10th) and the American Tommy Paul (19th) who will face each other in 8th.