Alcaraz sinks Monfils to advance in Miami

In Sports
March 28, 2024


Top seed Carlos Alcaraz powered into the fourth round of the Miami Open with a 6-2, 6-4 win over French veteran Gael Monfils at Hard Rock Stadium on Monday.

The 37-year-old Monfils was coping well with the power play of the talented Spaniard until he hurt his ankle in the fifth game.

While Monfils carried on bravely, bringing out some wonderful defensive shots from Alcaraz, the world number two was too much for the Parisian.

There were plenty of smiles, in between the occasional wince from Monfils, who enjoyed some entertaining rallies where Alcaraz could show his deftness of touch.

With the outcome feeling like a formality, Alcaraz eased off the gas and Monfils was able to break for the first time to reduce the deficit to 5-3.

Monfils then held his serve with a brilliant cross court winner before Alcaraz wrapped up business to book a place in the fourth round against Lorenzo Musetti.

“He’s a great athlete,” Alcaraz said of Monfils, “He reads almost every ball so I had to be patient but at the same time, with my forehand, my best shot, try to move him around the court, to get him tired a little bit and give myself the chance to dominate the point, get to the net, hit my best shot.

“That’s what I was trying to do in the match and it worked pretty well,” he added.

Alcaraz said he had enjoyed playing under the lights in front of stars such as Brazilian footballer Neymar and NBA star Jimmy Butler of the Miami Heat.

But he expects a much tougher test from Musetti, who won an enthralling battle with American Ben Shelton in front of a raucous crowd on the Butch Buchholz court 6-4, 7-6 (7/5).

“I know that Lorenzo is a really talented player so that’s a really tough one,” said Alcaraz.

“But I am really happy with the level that I am playing, with the performance that I am bringing to the court,” he added.

Earlier, fourth seed German Alexander Zverev came through a tricky test against American Christopher Eubanks, winning 7-6 (7/4), 6-3.

Zverev delivered a crucial break when Eubanks was serving for the set at 5-3 before breaking early in the second to go 3-0 up and see himself through to victory.

“He came out swinging and didn’t give me chances to be aggressive. I tried to mix it up from the baseline,” said Zverev.

“I was surprised how well he was playing from the baseline, not giving me many unforced errors. He makes a lot but usually misses a lot but today he wasn’t missing, especially through some stages of the first set,” he added.

Zverev will face 15th seed Karen Khachanov who was pushed all the way by Francisco Cerundolo 6-1, 5-7, 7-6 (7/5).

Khachanov finally sealed the victory on his fifth match point, as he repeated his win over the Argentine in the quarter-finals of Miami last year.

Australian Alex De Minaur moved on with  a 7-6 (7/3), 6-4 victory against 24th seed Jan-Lennard Struff of Germany.

De Minaur will face Fabian Marozsan in the next round after the Hungarian continued his impressive tournament with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Alexei Popyrin.

Hubert Hurkacz defeated American Sebastian Korda 7-6 (5), 6-7 (5), 6-3 and will face Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov who beat Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann 6-0, 6-0.

The defeats for Korda, Shelton and Eubanks leave the USA with no representative in the fourth round of the ATP Masters 1000 tournament.

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