Youngster Carlos Alcaraz, 19, became the 28th and youngest-ever ATP World No. 1 on Monday. The US Open winner returned to Spain and advanced to the first phase of the Davis Cup finals in Valencia. Carlos didn’t play against Serbia and managed his team against Canada on Friday.
Alcaraz faced Felix Auger-Aliassime and lost 6-7, 6-4, 6-2 in two hours and 50 minutes. This made Carlos the fourth player to start his reign in the ATP with a loss and the first since Lleyton Hewitt in 2001. The teenager prevailed in a tight early game before the Canadian turned 180 degrees and scored one of his most notable wins of the season.
Felix defeated Carlos for the second time in as many meetings, breaking 4-4 in the second set and dominating the decider. Auger-Aliassime fired 16 aces and made the difference on his first serve. Felix defended all seven break points and kept the pressure on the other side.
He broke Carlos three times to control the pace in the second set of the clash and keep his country in contention. The Canadian found his rhythm early in the hall after serving, producing good serve after good serve and keeping the pressure on the local hero.
Carlos survived challenging games at 1-2 and 2-3, serving to hold the set 4-5. The Spaniard held out after holding serve before facing an even more serious challenge at 5-6. Alcaraz saved a set point and brought the game home to enter a tiebreak.
Bruguera opens on Alcaraz
Carlos Alcaraz could have skipped the “Davis Cup”, especially since this new format often offers a pathetic spectacle compared to the old one. More than its former glory, this competition has lost its soul.
However, since Spain is very involved in this new version through the company Kosmos managed by Piqué, the Iberians play the game, see more than that as Bruguera, the captain, explains about Alcaraz. “First of all we have to congratulate Carlos and thank him for the tremendous effort he put in, knowing that he was very tired after playing in five sets in four consecutive qualifying rounds at the US Open matches.
He played a final last Sunday and on Tuesday he was here in Valencia. His commitment is incredible and no other player would have come. He played a very good match, but Aliassime played one of the best matches of his life that I can remember.
He lacked a bit of mental freshness and also time to adapt to conditions that were very different from the ones he played in last time. Carlos was unlucky to face a player like Aliassime in his first game.”