Carlos Alcaraz is not playing like the 18-year-old he is, but this Roland Garros has helped him to get closer. The Spaniard upset 28th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 on Thursday and became the youngest man since 17-year-old Andrei Medvedev back in 1992 to reach the 3rd round here at RG. Carlos also managed a huge feat: He’s now one of few men that reached 3rd round or better at any Grand Slam event before turning 19 years of age! #NextGenATP
The Murcia-native is not the only teen who has made his mark this week, though. Lorenzo Musetti and Jannik Sinner also advanced to the third round on Thursday. The last time three teens reached the Round of 32 in Paris was 2001 when Roger Federer, Andy Robredo, and Tommy Robredo did it!
After a tough four-set battle in the first round against fellow Spanish qualifier Bernabe Zapata Miralles, Alcaraz came out swinging in his main draw debut on Parisian clay. Basilashvili is one of the biggest hitters on tour and has enjoyed success on clay: he lifted ATP 500 trophy at Hamburg twice (2018 & 2019).
The Spaniard, Alcaraz, was not intimidated by his teen opponent and went shot-for-shot with the older 29-year-old. The match quickly turned into a delight to watch as both players were fighting for every point which resulted in 27 winners from Alcaraz’s side while only 16 came from Basilashvili.
The Spaniard was able to take down the five-time ATP Tour titlist, forcing Basilashvili into mistakes any time he played a bit safer. The teen opponent had no problem going shot for shot with Alcaraz in rallies all while being comfortable himself.
Alcaraz let slip a break advantage at 4-3 in the third set, but he regained that edge immediately and pointed to his head as an indication of his mental strength. The #NextGenATP star consistently showed positive emotions throughout the match with fist pumps and roars of “Vamos!”, none more visible than after clinching victory following one hour and 56 minutes into it all.
The World No. 97, who first cracked the Top 100 of the FedEx ATP Rankings last week, will next play another big-hitter in German Jan-Lennard Struff. The 31-year-old is trying to make it into his second Grand Slam’s fourth-round having beaten Andrey Rublev at Roland Garros this year for one of these two wins before being eliminated by Pablo Carreno Busta after a tough three-set game 6 5 7 4 6 3 0 2 1 -1 (5).
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