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Roland-Garros: Alcaraz makes quick work of Musetti, racing through to quarter-finals with identical score line to Djokovic

Carlos Alcaraz beat Lorenzo Musetti 6-3, 6-2, 6-2. He’ll face the winner of the match between Austrian qualifier Sebastian Ofner and Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarter-final as a last four encounter with Djokovic beckons

Alcaraz, Roland-Garros, 2023 Alcaraz at Roland-Garros 2023 © AI / Reuters / Panoramic
French Open •Round of 16 • completed
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In what was a much-anticipated encounter, many inside Court Philippe-Chatrier may have felt somewhat short-changed after Carlos Alcaraz breezed past Italian Lorenzo Musetti 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 to advance to the quarter-finals of Roland-Garros.

Having lost just seven games, this win was a statement of intent from the Spaniard. With Djokovic winning on the very same court just hours earlier, it was a case of ‘whatever you can do’ for Alcaraz, who blew his opponent off the court with an identical score line to the Serb’s earlier win.

A one-sided Roland-Garros encounter

Musetti opened the match by breaking Alcaraz’s serve, moving 2-0 up in what looked to be an engrossing encounter between two supremely talented young players. But the world No. 1 broke straight back, reeling off five straight games as he stamped his authority on proceedings.

This set the tone for much of the rest of the contest, with Alcaraz moving a break up at the start of the second. There was a brief fightback from the Italian, who clawed back the break to gain parity at 2-2, before his Spanish opponent again put his foot on the accelerator to race through the next four games and move two sets to love up.

It was a typical Carlos Alcaraz performance, with power being matched by panache as he made use of his exquisite drop-shot multiple times to cut short rallies and leave his opponent stranded.

Musetti tried to emulate this pattern of play, and both players ended the match with 23 drop shots apiece. But Alcaraz’s athleticism meant that Musetti’s drop shots were largely nullified.

Musetti : “Alcaraz is probably the best player in the world”

“Alcaraz is probably the best player in the world, it’s hard to beat him specially on clay”, Musetti said after match. “I didn’t show my best tennis but I don’t want to take advantage on that. He deserved to win and to pass the quarter-finals. I’m happy for him and the level he showed.”

The third set proved little more than a formality, as the world No. 1 broke for a sixth time in the fifth game of the final set as he sauntered towards the finish line without breaking a sweat.

Alcaraz aiming to please the Roland-Garros crowd

“I think I played a high level”, said Alcaraz during his on-court interview after the match. “I was playing really aggressive. I think he played a really complete match from the first ball to the last, so I’m really happy to get through this round against Lorenzo.”

Alcaraz is well aware that the expectations at this tournament are sky-high for him, but revealed that he is trying to stay grounded and not dwell too much on external pressures at such a crucial point in his career.

“I try not to think about the No. 1 (spot), the pressure. My main priority is to win the tournament. I try to put all those thoughts out of my mind.

My main priority is to win the tournament. I try to put all those thoughts on the No. 1 spot out of my mind.

Carlos Alcaraz

“I try just to play tennis, to enjoy… I try to smile all the time. This is the key for everything for me. To smile, to enjoy… Try to make the people enjoy watching the tennis, watching the match. This is all I think about during the match.”

Alcaraz will play the winner of the match between Austrian qualifier Sebastian Ofner and Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, the fifth seed at this year’s tournament, next.

The 20-year-old Spaniard is fine form so far in Paris, having dropped just one set en route to the quarter-finals. He won against Italian qualifier Flavio Cobolli (6-0, 6-2, 7-5), Japanese Taro Daniel (6-1, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2) and Canadian Denis Shapovalov, the No 26 seed (6-1, 6-4, 6-2) in the previous rounds before today’s match with Musetti.

If it is to be Tsitsipas in the next round, Alcaraz will enter that match having never lost against the Greek, while the prospect of facing Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals looms large for the young Spaniard.

Roland-Garros (Grand Slam), other last 16 results (Stade Roland-Garros, clay, EUR 49.600.000, most recent results first):

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