World no. 2 Carlos Alcaraz experienced an early loss at the Paris Masters, falling to Roman Safiullin 6-3, 6-4 in the second round. The young Spaniard failed to produce his A-game after two recent injuries, getting broken four times and playing his worst tournament of the season.
The second set's second game saw a slight delay due to the light from the ceiling, and Carlos used it to entertain the crowd. Alcaraz showed his skills with a racquet, trying to remain positive after losing the opener. A qualifier secured his career-best triumph, erasing a break deficit in both sets and sealing the deal in straight sets for a place in the third round.
Alcaraz struggled behind the second serve and dropped 43% of the points in his games. He lost serve four times and responded with two breaks, not enough to stay in contention. Safiullin had the upper hand in the shortest and more advanced rallies, taming his strokes nicely and outplaying world no.
2 from the baseline. Carlos made a solid start, breaking Roman in the encounter's third game after the Russian's backhand mistake. Safiullin responded with a backhand winner in the fourth game, pulling the break back and gaining a boost.
Alcaraz struggled behind the initial shot again in game eight, spraying a backhand error and sending Safiullin 5-3 in front. A qualifier served for the set in game nine and clinched it with a backhand winner after 37 minutes, hoping for more in set number two.
Carlos Alcaraz entertained the crowd during the Paris Masters.
Carlos wasted two break chances in the second game before fixing that at 2-1, placing a return winner and moving in front. Safiullin bounced back instantly, cracking a forehand winner in the fifth game and returning to the positive side.
The Russian held in game six for 3-3 and pushed strong on the return in the next one. Carlos saved three break points before Roman seized the fourth after the Spaniard's loose forehand, creating the crucial advantage. Safiullin gained a 5-3 lead before Alcaraz held at 30 a few minutes later to prolong the battle.
Roman served for a career-best victory at 5-4 and landed a service winner after deuce, ousting world no. 2 and securing a spot in the third round. Alcaraz will now focus on the ATP Finals, hoping to recover physically and chase his first ATP title since Wimbledon.