The young Carlos Alcaraz, 19, became the 28th and youngest number 1 in the ATP world on Monday. The US Open champion returned to Spain and got into the first phase of the Davis Cup final in Valencia. Carlos did not play against Serbia and managed his team against Canada on Friday.
Alcaraz faced Felix Auger-Aliassime and suffered a 6-7, 6-4, 6-2 loss in two hours and 50 minutes. Thus, Carlos became the fourth player to begin his reign in the ATP with a loss and the first since Lleyton Hewitt in 2001. The teenager prevailed in a tight early stage before the Canadian turned 180 degrees for one of his most notable wins of the season.
Felix defeated Carlos for the second time in as many meetings, breaking at 4-4 in the second set and dominating the decider. Auger-Aliassime fired 16 aces and made the difference on his first serve. Felix defended all seven break points and kept the pressure on the other side.
He broke Carlos three times to control the pace in the second set of the duel and keep his country in contention. The Canadian found his rhythm after the serve early on on an indoor court, producing one good serve after another and keeping the pressure on the local star.
Carlos survived challenging games at 1-2 and 2-3 and served to hold the set at 4-5. The Spaniard held on after winning his serve before facing an even more serious challenge at 5-6. Alcaraz saved a set point and brought the game home to enter a tie break.
Bruguera opens up on Alcaraz
Carlos Alcaraz could have skipped the “Davis Cup” especially since with this new format it often offers a pathetic spectacle when compared with the old one. More than its former glory, this competition has lost its soul.
Nevertheless, as Spain is very involved in this new version via the Kosmos company managed by Piqué, the Iberians play the game, see more than that as explained by Bruguera the captain about Alcaraz. “First of all, we have to congratulate and thank Carlos for the huge effort he put in, knowing that he was very tired, having played matches in five sets in four consecutive qualifying rounds at the US Open.
He played a final last Sunday and on Tuesday he was already here in Valencia. His commitment is incredible and any other player would not have come. He played a very good match but Aliassime played one of his best matches of his life that I can remember.
He lacked a bit of mental freshness and also time to adapt to conditions very different from those in which he has played recently. Carlos was unlucky to have faced a player like Aliassime in his first match."