Australian Open: Carlos Alcaraz eases through, as Jancheng Shang retires

Carlos Alcaraz spent 66 minutes on the court in the third round of the Australian Open

by Jovica Ilic
Australian Open: Carlos Alcaraz eases through, as Jancheng Shang retires
© Julian Finney / Staff - Getty Images Sport

World no. 2 Carlos Alcaraz will compete in the fourth round of the Australian Open for the first time in a career. Carlos met Juncheng Shang in the third round at Rod Laver Arena and scored a dominant 6-1, 6-1, 1-0 victory following his rival's retirement.

Shang struggled since the beginning of the match, dealing with the pain in his right leg and taking a medical timeout after the fifth game of the second set. The Chinese decided to retire in the second game of the third set, propelling the Spaniard through.

Carlos faced the opponent younger than him for the first time on the Tour, having the upper hand from start to finish and remaining on the title course. Alcaraz served well and dropped five out of 34 points behind the initial shot.

He never faced a break point and turned 58% of the return points into six breaks from 12 opportunities. Carlos overpowered Juncheng in the shortest exchanges up to four strokes and dominated the more extended ones, moving safely into the last 16 and achieving that at all four Majors.

Carlos Alcaraz lost two games against Juncheng Shang in Melbourne.

Shang made a reliable start and brought the encounter's first game home at 15 with a service winner. Carlos responded the second game home with a service winner and played a perfect running forehand lob in the third game for two break chances.

World no. 2 broke a left-hander with a deep return, moving in front and gaining a boost. Alcaraz fired an ace in the fourth game, opening a 3-1 gap and settling into a fine rhythm. Juncheng faced three break points in game five and saved the first with a forehand winner.

The Chinese reached deuce and saved the fourth break point with a backhand winner. The Spaniard attacked on the fifth break chance and drew the rival's mistake for a 4-1 advantage. Shang netted a forehand in game six, allowing Alcaraz to open a 5-1 gap at love.

A teenager served to stay in the set in game seven and experienced three set points after a forced error. Carlos seized the second with a sharp return, wrapping up the opener in 27 minutes.

Carlos Alcaraz & Juncheng Shang, Australian Open 2024© Julian Finney / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Alcaraz grabbed the first game of the second set with a service winner before a left-hander leveled the score at 1-1 with a powerful forehand.

Carlos placed a service winner for a hold at 15 in game three and forced the rival's mistake in the next one for a 3-1 advantage. The Spaniard painted a forehand down the line winner in the fifth game for 4-1, and the Chinese required a medical timeout on his right thigh.

Alcaraz earned a break at 15 in game six for 5-1, serving for the set in game seven. World no. 2 wrapped up the set at love with a service winner, forging a 6-1, 6-1 advantage after 59 minutes. Carlos created two break points in the first game of the third set with a crafty drop shot and fired a forehand return winner on the first to move in front.

Shang sprayed a forehand error in the first point of the second game and decided to retire, leaving Melbourne as the first Chinese male player in the third round of a Major.

Australian Open Carlos Alcaraz