By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
World no. 2 male tennis player Carlos Alcaraz kicked off his 2024 Australian Open campaign with a dominating victory over Richard Gasquet- 7.6, 6.1, 6.2- last January 16, 2024.
After suffering several major ATP tournament losses last December 2023, Alcaraz is back with a vengeance and is looking to add a third Grand Slam championship trophy under his belt.
However, the young Spanish superstar had to dig deep after facing a determined veteran in the grueling first set.
Alcaraz started shaky after committing several unforced errors in the baseline, a thing that Gasquet took advantage that helped him keep himself within striking distance.
Just when Gasquet thought he could dictate the pace of the match with his defensive slices that kept Alcaraz in the back foot, the Spanish power-hitter turned it up on the last eight tiebreak possessions to pull off a momentum-boosting 1-0 lead.
In the second set, it was all Alcaraz after breaking Gasquet’s first two services while only allowing him to hold one possession.
From a conservative point of attack, Alcaraz slowly shifted back to his high-octane offense that left Gasquet behind heading to the third and final set.
Gasquet began the third with a consistent volley strategy in the baseline but the waxing-hot Alcaraz continued to make a living on his down-the-line winners and aggressive net offense.
Overall, Alcaraz had a better service performance after collecting a total of nine service aces built from a 73% winning percentage on first serves.
In just three sets, Alcaraz was able to register 121 points won while notching a seven-game winning streak in the match.
With the win, Alcaraz will now march to the next round of the Australian Open and will face Lorenzo Sonego of Italy.