On Monday, the 19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz became the 28th and youngest ATP world no. 1. The US Open champion returned to Spain and entered the first stage of the Davis Cup Finals in Valencia. Carlos did not play against Serbia, and he led his squad against Canada on Friday.
Alcaraz met Felix Auger-Aliassime and experienced a 6-7, 6-4, 6-2 loss in two hours and 50 minutes. Thus, Carlos became the fourth player who started his ATP reign with a loss and the first since Lleyton Hewitt in 2001. A teenager claimed a tight opener before the Canadian shifted into a higher gear to produce one of his most notable wins of the season.
Felix defeated Carlos for the second time in as many encounters, scoring a break at 4-4 in the second set and dominating the decider. Auger-Aliassime fired 16 aces and made the difference with his first serve. Felix defended all seven break points and maintained the pressure on the other side.
Carlos Alcaraz lost to Felix Auger-Aliassime in three sets.
He broke Carlos three times to control the pace in the second part of the duel and keep his country in contention. The Canadian found the rhythm behind the initial shot right from the start on an indoor court, producing one good hold after another and keeping the pressure on the home star.
Carlos survived challenging games at 1-2 and 2-3 and served to stay in the set at 4-5. The Spaniard held after service winners before facing an even more serious challenge at 5-6. Alcaraz saved a set point and brought the game home to introduce a tie break.
World no. 1 played well and fired a forehand down the line winner at 6-3 to clinch the opener in grueling 64 minutes. Both players served well in the second set's five games before Auger-Aliassime faced a break point at 2-3.
The Canadian saved it with a forehand drive-volley winner and gained a boost. Carlos sprayed a backhand mistake in the ninth game to experience the first break and push the rival in front. Felix held at 15 in game ten with a service winner to grab the set 6-4 and introduce a tie break after two hours.
The Canadian broke for the second straight time at the start of the decider before facing an ultimate challenge at 2-1. Auger-Aliassime played against four break points in the fourth game, staying calm and getting out of jail with a service winner.
Alcaraz paid the price in the next game, spraying a backhand mistake and falling 4-1 behind. The Canadian served for the victory at 5-2 and denied two break points with winners. Felix sealed the deal with a booming serve to celebrate the win, probably his finest of the season.