Mutua Madrid Open
The Murcian drops a set against Norrie and qualifies for the quarterfinals, where Manacor awaits
Carlos Alcaraz turned years this Thursday and also his part of the deal so that there is a generational duel in Madrid. The Murcian, who had never won two games in a row in the capital, knocked down the British Cameron Norrie (6-4. 6-7 (4) and 6-3) to create a quarter-final duel against Rafael Nadal and celebrate the 19th birthday of him.
Alcaraz, who returned to close the men's day in the Madrid tournament, did not slow down from what was seen in his debut here, but he found a quarrelsome Norrie who has hit a high on clay -and in general- to the point of being the best Briton in the ranking and the one fighting to enter the top ten in the world.
After a blistering start from Alcaraz, which threatened to make the match last no more than an hour, Norrie woke up, lengthening the first set battle from 5-2 to 5-4, but succumbing to the pressure of being served for the 5-5. Alcaraz, who does not forgive or ask before shooting, jumped up and pointed his fist towards the stands when he consumed the first quarter.
A way of marking ground against a man who knows what it is to live with the public against him, as when in the 2018 Davis Cup he came back two sets against Roberto Bautista in Marbella.
That is why the Briton did not collapse, that is why he endured Alcaraz's attacks on his feet and tamed him little by little, until deciding in a vertiginous 'tie break' that the game would go on a little longer. It was also allowed by an erratic Alcaraz, who was not at the height that his tennis deserves in the hot moments of the tiebreaker.
But if El Palmar has something, it is the ability to make a clean slate in a matter of seconds. The next game, the first of the second set, he broke Norrie and carved out a 3-1 lead saving break points along the way. With a crossed backhand that dislodged the Briton and with some dropshots that bordered on perfection. If they're not the best dropshots on the circuit, they don't have to be far from the top.
On his bench there were nerves and tension, because what was at stake was a match with Nadal and a few quarters at home, in Madrid. A rigidity that disappeared when Alcaraz took the last point, the one that allows him to go through one more round and, in addition, protect his position as number nine in the world.
The Murcian will live this Friday, around 4:00 p.m. Spanish time, the third game of his career against Nadal. The first was on this same track, on his 18th birthday, and ended with a very simple victory for the player from Manacor, who only dropped three games; the second was in the Indian Wells semifinals, two months ago, when Manacor also won, but with a set for Alcaraz.