A memorable duel between Carlos Alcaraz and a veteran Spanish left-hander came a week early at the French Open.
Alcaraz, the 19-year-old Spanish phenom tipped by many to win Roland Garros, outlasted 34-year-old journeyman countryman Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-1, 6-7 (7), 5-7, 7-6 (2), 6-4 to reach the third round.
It marked the longest match of Alcaraz’s young career at more than four and a half hours. “I feel tired,” Alcaraz said on court. “It has been a great battle.
We fought until the last point.” Ramos-Vinolas, a clay-court specialist whose lone major quarterfinal came at the 2016 French Open, served for the match, with a match point on his racket, in the fourth set. He was also up 3-0 in a fifth set that included six breaks of serve.
Alcaraz previously beat Ramos-Vinolas in his ATP Tour match debut, at age 16 in a decisive set tiebreak at 3 a.m. in the February 2020 Rio Open in Brazil. Alcaraz drew comparisons over the last year to Rafael Nadal, who won his first of a record 13 French Open titles at age 19 in 2005.
Alcaraz rocketed up the rankings this season with titles in Rio de Janeiro, Miami, Barcelona and Madrid, riding an 11-match win streak into Wednesday.—AFP