Carlos Alcaraz advances into third round of French Open

Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz advanced to the third round of the French Open, though he experienced a concerning dip in performance during his match against Dutch qualifier Jesper de Jong. Despite this, he managed a 6-3 6-4 2-6 6-2 victory on Wednesday.

The third seed had to exert significant effort to secure a two-set lead under the Court Philippe Chatrier roof. However, De Jong, ranked 176th, remained undaunted and pushed the match further as Alcaraz faced a setback in the third set.

Alcaraz’s struggles persisted into the fourth set, with the first four games all going against serve. The 21-year-old grew increasingly frustrated on court. Nonetheless, he managed to regain some control just in time, holding serve for a 3-2 lead and breaking De Jong in the following game as his determined opponent began to lose momentum.

Feeling a sense of relief, Alcaraz then surged towards victory. De Jong hit a forehand into the net after slightly more than three hours, concluding an enthralling contest.

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That did not prevent him from surging past J.J. Wolf in the opening round, but De Jong, who advanced through qualifying and defeated Britain’s Jack Draper in the first round, posed a greater challenge. Disregarding the disparity in their rankings, De Jong stood his ground against Alcaraz, occasionally matching the Spaniard’s strength and showcasing some elegant moves.

Alcaraz lost his initial service game when De Jong executed an exquisite drop shot, but the Spaniard rebounded admirably to control the first set with his superior power.

De Jong fought hard to maintain his serve throughout the second set and even had a break point at 4-4, but failed to capitalise on it. When Alcaraz then broke serve to take a two-set lead, it seemed as though a straightforward victory was imminent.

However, De Jong elevated his game while Alcaraz’s performance dipped. A more confident De Jong troubled Alcaraz early in the fourth set, but his challenge eventually waned. Alcaraz will next face either the American 27th seed Sebastian Korda or South Korea’s Kwon Soon-woo.

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