Australian Open: Carlos Alcaraz edges Lorenzo Sonego

Carlos Alcaraz and Lorenzo Sonego batted for almost three and a half hours 

by Jovica Ilic
Australian Open: Carlos Alcaraz edges Lorenzo Sonego
© Cameron Spencer / Staff - Getty Images Sport

World no. 2 Carlos Alcaraz notched his 43rd Major victory at the Australian Open. The Spaniard battled against Lorenzo Sonego at Rod Laver Arena and prevailed 6-4, 6-7, 6-3, 7-6 after three hours and 25 minutes, following other favorites into round three.

Carlos won 22 points more than Lorenzo, securing the pivotal points and avoiding a decider. The Spaniard hit 12 aces and kept everything under control behind the first and second serve, getting broken once from four chances offered to his opponent in the only loose service game.

Also, the young gun fired 43 winners and 34 unforced errors, feeling happy about his performance. Sonego fought well, but it was not enough to extend the battle, losing serve three times and ending his campaign in the second round.

Alcaraz built the advantage in the shortest and mid-range exchanges, with two rivals embracing only ten rallies with nine shots or more. Carlos defended his second serve superbly in the opening set, navigating through his games without facing a break point and keeping the pressure on the other side.

Sonego squandered game points at 1-1 in the opener and offered Alcaraz two break chances. The Spaniard netted a routine backhand on the second, missing an opportunity to move in front. Carlos grabbed the fourth game after deuce with a service winner and earned another break point at 2-2.

He netted Sonego's serve and a forehand to keep the opponent on the positive side. Alcaraz held at love in game six and made another push on the return in the next one, pressuring Sonego for the third straight game. The Italian failed to endure this time, spraying a forehand error and falling 4-3 behind.

The Spaniard closed the eighth game with a service winner before the lower-ranked player extended the set with a powerful serve in game nine. The young gun served for the opener at 5-4 and landed a volley winner for 6-4 after 51 minutes.

Carlos Alcaraz, Australian Open 2024© Cameron Spencer / Staff - Getty Images Sport

The second set saw no break chances, with Sonego following Alcaraz's pace and arranging a tie break. They kicked it off with four comfortable holds before Lorenzo squandered a 40-15 lead in game five.

He brought Carlos to deuce but held with a brilliant volley winner. The Spaniard locked them at 3-3 with a drop shot winner and closed the eighth game at love for 4-4. Alcaraz grabbed the 12th game after deuce, introducing a tie break.

Carlos missed a lob at 1-1, and Lorenzo opened a 4-1 lead with a forehand winner. The Italian earned another mini-break for 5-1, building a comfortable advantage and landing a beautiful volley winner for 6-3 and three set points.

Lorenzo attacked on the first, forcing Carlos' mistake and leveling the overall score after an hour and 49 minutes. Alcaraz served well in the third set, landing in 71% of the first serves and losing four points in his games.

He grabbed an early break and controlled the scoreboard.

Carlos Alcaraz defeated Lorenzo Sonego in four sets at Rod Laver Arena.

The young gun took charge on the return in the second game, breaking his rival with a smash winner and gaining a boost.

Carlos moved 3-1 up with a service winner in game three and produced a hold at love two games later after Lorenzo's loose forehand for 4-1. The Spaniard fired another service winner for 5-2, forcing the Italian to serve to stay in the set.

Sonego held after deuce, reducing the deficit before Alcaraz clinched the set with a hold at love at 5-3, firing a service winner and building the advantage after two hours and 25 minutes. World no. 2 secured a break in the fourth set's first game, moving closer to the finish line.

However, he struggled behind the initial shot in game two, offering Sonego his only break chances. The Spaniard saved three before the Italian converted the fourth with a running forehand down the line winner, leveling the score at 1-1.

Carlos Alcaraz, Australian Open 2024© Cameron Spencer / Staff - Getty Images Sport

They served well in the remaining games, with no chances for the returners. Sonego held at love in game five with a volley winner after Alcaraz's tweener, and the Spaniard leveled the score at 3-3 with an unreturned serve.

Carlos stayed on the positive side with a fine hold in game eight and closed the tenth game at 15 for 5-5 and more drama. Sonego stayed focused and grabbed the 11th game with a service winner, forcing Alcaraz to serve to stay in the set for the second time.

The young gun clinched it with a powerful serve, introducing the second tie break. Carlos passed his rival with a strong backhand in the first point, earning a mini-break and firing a service winner for 3-0. Sonego reduced the deficit to 3-2 before Alcaraz grabbed two points on serve for 5-2.

Lorenzo sprayed a forehand error in the eighth point, offering his rival four set points. Carlos converted the second with a smash winner at the net, sealing the deal and booking a place in the third round. The young gun earned his 21st hard-court Major win before turning 21, leaving Novak Djokovic on 20!

Australian Open Carlos Alcaraz Lorenzo Sonego