Carlos Alcaraz after a loss: 'I was not at my best, but I still fought'

“I wasn’t at my best, but I still fought”

19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz played his first game as world No. 1. 1 in front of a home crowd in Valencia. Carlos faced Felix Auger-Aliassime in the duel between Spain and Canada and lost 7-6, 4-6, 2-6 in two hours and 50 minutes.

The encounter came five days after Carlos’ first major title at the US Open and he wasn’t feeling at his best. Still, the youngster gave it his all in the first two sets before losing ground in the closing stages of the second set.

Felix played at a high level, taking control in the second set 4-4 to take home the win and keep his country in contention. Auger-Aliassime fired 16 aces and saved all seven break chances to keep the pressure on the home star.

Carlos Alcaraz lost to Felix Auger-Aliassime in three sets.

Carlos was broken three times in the closing stages of set number two, enduring his second loss to Felix in as many encounters. The Canadian found the rhythm behind the initial shot in the opener and kept the pressure on the other side.

Carlos weathered challenging games at 1-2 and 2-3 and faced an even more serious challenge at 5-6. Alcaraz saved a set point and brought the game home to set up a tiebreak. World No. 1 played well, firing a forehand down the line 6-3 to win the opener in a grueling 64 minutes.

Both players served well in the first five games of the second set before Auger-Aliassime faced a break point at 2-3. The Canadian saved it with a forehand drive volley winner and got a boost. Carlos sprayed a backhand error in the ninth game to earn the first break and push the rival in front.

Felix held at 15 in the next with a service winner to take the set 6-4 and set up a decider. The Canadian broke for the second straight game early in the final set before embarking on an ultimate challenge at 2-1. Auger-Aliassime played against four break points and stayed calm to come out of jail and go 3-1 with a service winner.

Alcaraz paid the price in the next game, spraying a backhand error and falling 4-1 behind. The Canadian served to win 5-2 and denied two break points with Winners. Felix sealed the deal with a booming serve to celebrate the win and keep Canada in the tie.

“I think Felix played at a high level and served brutally well. I made mistakes at the end of the second set that cost me a lot. I wasn’t at my best physically and mentally, but I still did my best. I wasn’t 100% and will try to recover until Sunday. This is the Davis Cup and you have to do everything for your country until the last point,” said Carlos Alcaraz.

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