A blistering start set the tone for Carlos Alcaraz on Thursday at the Rolex Paris Masters, where the World No. 1 won nine of the first 10 games en route to a 6-1, 6-3 third-round victory against Grigor Dimitrov. . .
Alcaraz was marked from the start in his first ATP Head2Head meeting with former World No. 3 Dimitrov. Hitting the ball cleanly on both wings from the baseline and deploying his drop shot to good effect throughout, the Spaniard converted five of seven break points against the Bulgarian’s serve to close out an impressive 72-minute victory.
“I started playing pretty well,” Alcaraz said after the game. “[Grigor’s] The level is not the level you saw today, but I played very well. At the end of the second set, it was more difficult for me, he came back, he raised the level and obviously it was difficult. He had a chance to go up in the second set, I had to stay calm at the time and try my best not to let him go up.”
In a nearly flawless opening, Alcaraz’s all-around game left former World No. 3 Dimitrov with few counter-attacking opportunities. The Spaniard dropped just two points behind serve in the opening set and picked up where he left off in his straight-set second-round victory against Yoshihito Nishioka.
Dimitrov found his feet to win three straight 0-3 games to level the second set before creating two break chances for a 4-3 lead, but Alcaraz’s relentless consistency proved crucial. He stopped the Bulgarian’s charge to advance to the quarterfinals for the first time in Paris, where he will face seventh seed Andrey Rublev or Holger Rune.
“At that moment you have to be calm, think [about] what’s going on and after that try to change a little bit,” said Alcaraz, when asked about Dimitrov’s comeback in the second set. “ME [made] a couple of mistakes at the beginning of the match, but after that I stayed calm”.
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If Alcaraz lifts his third Masters 1000 title of the year in Paris, the 19-year-old would be confirmed as the year-end No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings ahead of his Nitto ATP Finals debut. He admitted that he was enjoying playing in front of his parents in the French capital, where he received the ATP No. 1 trophy presented by Pepperstone during a ceremony on Monday night.
“It’s a pleasure,” Alcaraz said. “It is difficult to bring them to tournaments, and having them in the box during the week is very special. Of course, taking the No. 1 trophy in front of them was very special for me.”