Carlos Alcaraz has a mission between his eyebrows, recover the number 1 of the ATP ranking as the best tennis player in the world, and he is aware that he has it within reach of his racket. For this reason, the Murcian did not skimp on his game and devastated the Australian with unusual forcefulness Thanasi Kokkinakis this Saturday (double 6-3) in its premiere at the Masters 1,000 of Indian Wells 2023.
It is enough for the Spanish tennis player, although it sounds simpler than it seems, win the title in the American tournament to recover that privileged position at the top of world tennis. At the moment, he is already in the third round, being the first seedDue to the absence of the current number 1, the Serbian Novak Djokovicwho was unable to enter the United States due to his refusal to be vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Free track on the cement of Indian Wells therefore for Alcaraz, who aspires to restart a 2023 that has not been easy so far for him, with the 57 wins last year on the horizon. For a start, an injury prevented him from attending the Australian Open in January, so he couldn’t defend that first position in the ATP ranking, and then, already recovered, he had to stop again at just the worst moment.
Alcaraz had not competed since the Rio de Janeiro tournament finalwhen a hamstring injury it cost him the defeat against the british Cameron Norrie. Rocky start to the year, but the Murcian gave excellent signs in his debut in the Californian desert, where he was a semifinalist last year, and where he began his meteoric rise to the top of tennis on a planetary level.
Last year, only Rafa Nadal was able to stop his progress in this tournament, but that semifinal served as a prelude to what was important, his first trophy in a Master 1000, in Miami, when he finally took off. In his return to center court of ‘Tennis Paradise‘, as the Californian club is known, was intractable, as before the injuries, and it only took an hour and 16 minutes to knock down Kokkinakis in the first confrontation between the two.
Everything to emulate and try to overcome the best year of his short career so far. His 2022 ended with five titles, the Masters 1,000 in Miami and Madrid, the tournaments in Rio and Barcelona and the icing on the cake in New Yorkwhen he lifted up to heaven first ‘big’ of his career and became number one in the world.
With all this in mind, Alcaraz went out to bite and only needed 33 minutes to take the first set with a 6-3 that only partially reflected his dominance on the court. He only lost one point on his serve and attacked constantly, allowing him to get the break on Kokkinakis’ first turn to serve. His accelerations with his right foot, together with an excellent drop shot with the 4-1 lead in the light, disarmed Kokkinakis and paved the way for the Murcian to victory.
alcaraz forgave a break ball at the opening of the second quarter and came out of a delicate 30-30 with his serve in the second game, which allowed him prevent Kokkinakis from regaining confidence. He did not miss his new break opportunity in the third game and sealed the ‘break’ that launched him towards victory. With 3-5 in the light, after authoritatively maintaining their turns at service, Alcaraz got three match balls with Kokkinakis to serve. He forgave the first twobut took advantage of the third to sentence the duel with an elegant volley.
‘I love Indian Wells’, the Murcian wrote on the camera at the end of his match, to thank the support of the public in the stands, who repeatedly chanted his name during the match. Alcaraz will face the Dutchman in the third round Tallon Griekspoorworld number 36, who eliminated Argentine Guido Pella this Saturday in two sets decided in the tiebreaker.
Badosa pursues his own path of redemption
Paula Badosa He is not having a good time in recent times either, and to make up for it and begin to straighten the course, he had to win his ‘derby’ against the also Spanish Nuria Párrizas (6-2 and 6-3)also qualifying for the third round of Indian Wells, in which she will face the Kazakh Elena Rybakina.
Badosa, world number 22 and Indian Wells champion in 2021need one hour and 38 minutes to prevail over Párrizas (nº 88) in the first meeting between the two on the WTA circuit, and now a demanding date awaits her against Rybakinatenth favourite, against which have won four of the five previous meetingsthree in a row, which gives him a certain psychological advantage.