Australian Open: Carlos Alcaraz follows Novak Djokovic into R2

Carlos Alcaraz is off to a winning start in Melbourne

by Jovica Ilic
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Australian Open: Carlos Alcaraz follows Novak Djokovic into R2
© Darrian Traynor / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Competing at the Australian Open for the first time in two years, world no. 2 Carlos Alcaraz made a winning start at Melbourne Park. Carlos took down the veteran Richard Gasquet 7-6, 6-1, 6-2 in two hours and 23 minutes, sailing into the second round.

Carlos played well, producing fine numbers behind the first and second serve and facing only two break point in the encounter's first and last game. Gasquet saved nine break points to stay in touch in the opener, losing it 7-5 and fading from the court in sets two and three.

Carlos pushed his rival to the limits on the second serve, earning 16 break points and seizing four to control the pace and sail over the top. The young gun had the upper hand in the shortest, mid-range and most extended rallies, firing 50 winners and taming his strokes nicely.

Carlos served at 56% in the opening set, but it did not cost him much. The Spaniard fired 23 winners, defending lone break points and earning nine chances on the return.

Carlos Alcaraz sailed past Richard Gasquet at the Australian Open.

The veteran denied them and stayed in touch until the tie break.

Gasquet led 5-4 in the tie break before Alcaraz grabbed the following three points to prevail after over 70 minutes! Richard denied three break points in the encounter's first game and squandered his opportunity in game two.

The Frenchman had to dig deep at 2-2, defending three break chances and staying on the positive side. Pushing strong, the young gun created three more break chances at 3-3, doing everything to grab a break and move in front.

Richard saved them and brought the game home for a 4-3 lead, giving 120% to follow the pace of world no. 2. They served well in the final five games, introducing a tie break and presenting more drama. Carlos lost two points on serve at 3-2 and found himself 5-4 down.

The Spaniard landed a perfect drop shot winner for 5-5 and converted the first set point at 6-5 with a winner at the net, wrapping up the opener in 72 minutes and gaining a massive boost.

Carlos Alcaraz, Australian Open 2024© Darrian Traynor / Stringer - Getty Images Sport

Carlos served well in the second set, producing four comfortable holds and keeping the pressure on his opponent.

The Spaniard barely sprayed unforced errors and made a flying start, breaking Gasquet at love in game two for a 3-0 advantage. The Frenchman struggled again in the fifth game, saving three break points and staying within one break deficit.

Carlos grabbed another break in game six, serving for the set at 5-1 and producing another fine hold to forge two sets to love advantage and move closer to the finish line. Alcaraz was the only player on the court in the third set, serving well and breaking the rival's resistance with a double break.

Carlos stole Richard's serve in games one and three, moving in front and serving for the victory at 5-2. Alcaraz denied a break point and converted the fifth match point for a place in the second round.

Australian Open Carlos Alcaraz Novak Djokovic
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