To afford the child prodigy of tennis, on clay moreover, you have to be perfect. It was while striving to make this match faultless that Denis Shapolov scuttled himself.
A subscriber to double faults and unable to take advantage of his service, the Canadian did not last long against Carlos Alcaraz, folding his spine 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 on Friday. Shapovalov’s journey at Porte d’Auteuil was stopped on the third lap.
While the first set was one-sided, with Alcaraz winning the first five games, it was in the second set that Shapovalov had more success. It was also during this round that he missed a perfect opportunity to destabilize his rival.
More poised than usual, Shapovalov was able to take a 4-1 lead at one point. However, his 10 double faults during the duel, including five during the second set, cost him dearly. Opposite, the Spaniard showed all his superiority with spectacular drop shots before coming from behind and winning.
The third and final round was like the first: the emulator of Rafael Nadal was in a class apart. The result was never in doubt.
On the central court, the first racket in the world arrived with a white and green striped outfit reminiscent of the Nigerian jerseys at the Soccer World Cup. He honored Jay-Jay Okocha by offering a high quality show.
The 20-year-old improved his record to 33-3 this season. The 2022 US Open winner looked in control throughout and allowed himself some remarkable shots at net, leaving Shapovalov short of solutions most of the time.
Clay, Alcaraz’s favorite surface, allowed him to be even better against an opponent who usually gets into trouble on this surface. Despite Shapovalov having an up and down season, Alcaraz still showed he was simply superior. His quest for the second Grand Slam tournament of the season is more alive than ever.
In the round of 16, Alcaraz will cross swords with Lorenzo Musetti, the 18e world racket. The 21-year-old Italian won against Cameron Norrie in three sets earlier today.