Roland Garros: Carlos Alcaraz sends message to Novak Djokovic

Carlos Alcaraz defeated Denis Shapovalov in straight sets in the third round

by Jovica Ilic
Roland Garros: Carlos Alcaraz sends message to Novak Djokovic

World no. 1 Carlos Alcaraz is through to his fifth last 16 appearance at Majors at 20, and the second at Roland Garros. The Spaniard faced Denis Shapovalov for the first time on Court Philippe-Chatrier during the night session.

The favorite scored a rock-solid 6-1, 6-4, 6-2 triumph in two hours and ten minutes, keeping everything under control and arranging the fourth-round duel versus Lorenzo Musetti. Denis came to Paris with no form, struggling with a knee injury and leaving the top-30 for the first time in years.

The Canadian achieved his best result in Paris but stood no chance against such a strong rival. Shapovalov opened a 4-1 lead in the second set after back-to-back breaks, playing well in those moments but losing 11 of the final 13 games to end his run in the third round.

Carlos produced decent numbers in his games, facing six break points and experiencing those two breaks that did not cost him much. The Spaniard grabbed 55% of the return points, earning 16 break chances and providing seven return games to control the scoreboard and remain on the title course.

The younger player tamed his strokes nicely with 25 winners and 24 unforced errors. Carlos welcomed 40 unforced errors from his opponent and secured a comfortable win. Alcaraz took 35 points more and had the upper hand in the shortest, mid-range and most extended exchanges to leave the rival on seven games.

Denis sprayed a forehand error in the encounter's first game, and Carlos held at love. The Spaniard earned five break points in the second game, pushing strong right from the start and clinching the last with a sharp return that sent him 2-0 in front.

World no. 1 grabbed another break at 3-0 when a left-hander sprayed a backhand error and forged a 5-0 lead after a couple of deuces in game five. Shapovalov served to stay in the set in game six and faced two set points.

Carlos Alcaraz scored a rock-solid victory over Denis Shapovalov in Paris.

Alcaraz missed them and failed to produce a bagel. The Spaniard served for the set in game seven and landed a service winner for a hold at 15 and 6-1 after 35 minutes. Denis denied a break point at the beginning of the second set and gained a boost.

He created three break chances in the second game and wasted them. Alcaraz did not convert a game point, and Shapovalov seized the fifth break point following the rival's careless forehand to open a 2-0 lead. Already doing more than in the opener, the Canadian lost serve in the third game before delivering another return game at 2-1 with a perfect forehand down the line winner.

Shapovalov opened a 4-1 gap and looked good to grab the set and start all over. Instead, Carlos stepped in with his backhand in the seventh game and forced Denis' error to pull the break back and gain confidence. The Spaniard held for 4-4 after an excellent point and a volley winner at the net and earned two break points in the next one after the Canadian's double fault.

Carlos drew Denis' mistake to clinch the first and open a 5-4 gap. Alcaraz held at love in the tenth game to rattle off five straight games and forge two sets to love advantage after an hour and 29 minutes. The Spaniard served well in the third set and kept the pressure on the other side.

Shapovalov lost serve in the first game after a double fault, and Alcaraz held at 15 in the next one to confirm the advantage. Denis denied three break points in the third game before Carlos held at 30 for 3-1. The Spaniard broke at love in game five with a backhand down the line return winner and placed a forehand down the line winner in the next one for 5-1.

World no. 1 served for the victory at 5-2 and held at 30 after Shapovalov's backhand error to secure a place in the last 16 in Paris for the second straight year.

Carlos Alcaraz Novak Djokovic Denis Shapovalov