On Tuesday night, the defending US Open champion Carlos Alcaraz plays his first match in New York against Dominik Koepfer at Arthur Ashe Stadium. Carlos is the favorite, but Dominik does not want to leave the court without a proper fight.
Koepfer praised Alcaraz but stated his rival is not perfect, as he makes mistakes like all the other players. Also, the German will try to use his experience from the duels against Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic, eager to stay focused and enjoy against the world's best player.
A left-handed German is ranked 75th after notable results in the current season. Dominik struggled with a left hand injury in 2022, winning three ATP matches and dropping out from the top-200. Koepfer made a slow start to the current season, experiencing three early Challenger Tour losses before conquering Mexico City as a qualifier.
A week later, the German lost the San Luis Potosi final, further improving his ranking.
Carlos Alcaraz meets Dominik Koepfer in the US Open first round.
He played back-to-back Challenger finals in May before embracing two ATP semi-finals and returning to the top-100.
Koepfer will seek his 13th Major win against the world's best player. Alcaraz will try to make a strong start and gather a boost following a thrilling Cincinnati Masters final loss to Novak Djokovic. Carlos is 53-6 this season, winning six titles and adding the second Major trophy to his tally at Wimbledon.
Now, the 20-year-old Spaniard will try to defend a Major title for the first time, facing a stern test in New York and hoping to rise to the occasion. If he passes Koepfer and three more rivals, Alcaraz could face Jannik Sinner in the quarter-final, setting the re-run of last year's epic duel that saw him saving a match point.
"Carlos is not perfect. He may be a bit faster than regular players, but he also makes mistakes. After all, Carlos is a tennis player like all the others. To beat a player like Carlos, you must manage your nerves and stay calm.
I already played against Roger and Novak, taking a couple of sets. I have climbed back through ranking, working hard and feeling confident about my game. I will go out against Carlos, trying to do my best and enjoy, as I have nothing to lose. I'm very excited about facing him," Dominik Koepfer said.
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