Paris, May 27
Carlos Alcaraz’s meteoric rise continued on Friday when the Spanish prodigy produced yet another awe-inspiring performance to outplay American Sebastian Korda 6-4 6-4 6-2 and reach the last 16 of the French Open for the first time.
Facing the only man to beat him on clay this year, the sixth-seeded teenager, who saved a match point in the second round, showed his full range on a packed court Philippe Chatrier — mixing powerful forehands with gravity-defying drop shots.
The 27th-seeded Korda threw everything at his opponent, only for the ball to come back quicker and with more power and the American faded in the third after a high-octane fight in the first two sets.
Alcaraz, who now has an 18-1 win-loss record on the red dirt this season after winning titles in Barcelona and Madrid, will next face 21st-seeded Russian Karen Khachanov before a potential quarter-final clash against third seed Alexander Zverev.
“It’s amazing to play in front of such a great crowd in this atmosphere on a night session,” the 19-year-old Alcaraz, who stunned the crowd with some serve and volleying, said.
“I’m having fun, I love playing tennis on such great courts, I love playing in France. Serve and volley is a weapon that I have so I use it.” Should the stars align for Alcaraz, he could eventually take on either world number one and defending champion Novak Djokovic or 13-time Roland Garros winner Rafael Nadal in the last four.
“If I am winning, I just play against one of them. I think I’m ready. It’s different to play against them,” he said.
“I mean in the Masters 1000 or another tournament it’s best-of-three and in Grand Slam it’s best-of-five, but I would say I’m ready.” Alcaraz got off to a brilliant start and had a couple of double break points at 3-1, only for Korda to stave them off with a service winner and an ace.
But the Spaniard was untroubled on his service games and he wrapped up the opening set having lost only six points on serve.
Korda found his range early in the second set and set up two break points but Alcaraz held firm and showed his ability to find the best shot at the best moment – including a sublime lob while on the back foot to go 30-0 up in the fifth game.
He won that game with a superb forehand winner down the line.
Korda saved set points at 5-3 but yielded under pressure in the 10th game, returning long to hand Alcaraz a two-set lead.
It quickly went downhill from there for Korda, who dropped serve again with a volley into the net in the seventh game and capitulated on the first match point when Alcaraz unleashed a backhand winner down the line. Reuters