Tennis

18 Y.O. Carlos Alcaraz Wins Five-Set Thriller On Wimbledon Debut | ATP Tour

#NextGenATP star Carlos Alcaraz’s breakthrough season continued on Wednesday as he overcame Yasutaka Uchiyama 6-3, 6-7(4), 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 to record his first grass-court tour-level win on his Wimbledon debut.

The 18-year-old battled back from a break down in the final set and hit 65 winners in the match to advance to the second round in four hours and 18 minutes. The teen sensation will next face second-seeded Russian Daniil Medvedev.

“I am really happy to reach the second round here at my first Wimbledon. It was a really tough match,” Alcaraz said. “I really like [grass], I feel comfortable playing here. I could not play any tournaments on grass before Wimbledon, but every day I feel more comfortable.

“In the fifth set, I stayed calm. I am improving to stay calm in the tough moments and play at the same level. I played really well, and I am excited to play against [Daniil] Medvedev in the second round.”

Alcaraz recently became the youngest man to reach the third round at Roland Garros since 17-year-old Andrei Medvedev in 1992, following on from a semi-final run at the AnyTech365 Andalucia Open trophy in Marbella (l. to Munar). The Spaniard, No. 75 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, is now 10-9 on the season.

Alcaraz was ranked outside the Top 500 when The Championships were last played in 2019. He has climbed rapidly since, winning five ATP Challenger Tour titles.

In an entertaining first set, Alcaraz broke three times and fired 16 winners as he overpowered his Japanese opponent to lead. However, Uchiyama grew into the match in the second set, and while he was unable to convert two set points at 5-4, he clinched the tie-break when Alcaraz netted a backhand.

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At the start of the third set, Alcaraz wrestled back control with his heavy baseline hitting as he marched 5-2 ahead before closing out on serve. The teenager was pegged back in the fourth set though, with the 28-year-old breaking in the fourth game. Uchiyama won 80 per cent (12/15) of his first-service points as the match moved to a decider.

Alcaraz trailed by a break in the final set but would not be beaten, clawing his way back to 3-3 before moving 5-3 ahead. He then saved two more break points in his final service game to seal the win. Lucky loser Uchiyama, No. 116 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, is now 2-6 on the season at tour-level.

Also on Wednesday, Canadian Felix Auger-Aliassime continued his strong grass-court season as he defeated Thiago Monteiro 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 to advance to the second round at Wimbledon.

The 16th seed is now 7-2 on the surface this year. He reached the final at the MercedesCup in Stuttgart (l. to Cilic) and the semi-finals at the NOVENTI OPEN in Halle (l. to Humbert).

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Auger-Aliassime fired eight aces and broke the Brazilian four times to advance in two hours and 10 minutes. The 20-year-old will next face Mikael Ymer after he defeated former World No. 5 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 7-5, 6-7(4), 5-7, 6-4, 6-3.

It was a bright start for the Canadian on No. 2 court , as he charged into a 4-1 lead by playing consistently from the baseline. Auger-Aliassime did not face a break point in the set as he moved ahead. The World No. 19 then blasted 17 winners in the next two sets and continued to serve well, winning 87 per cent (40/46) of his first-service points in the match. Auger-Aliassime now holds a 21-13 record this season.

Monteiro reached the second round in 2017 at Wimbledon in his previous best performance at the Grand Slam. The World No. 81 is 11-11 on the season.

Lastly, 10th seed Denis Shapovalov received a walkover against Pablo Andujar to reach the third round. The 22-year-old will next face former two-time champion Andy Murray or qualifier Oscar Otte.

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