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La résurrection de Stefanos Tsitsipas Jannik Sinner, on top of the world

The defending champion defeated Daniel Evans (6/2 6/3 4/6 6/3) in the US Open third round.

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On paper, this should have been a one-way encounter : the flaming world number one against the 26th seed. It was without taking into account Daniel Evans’ abnegation and creativity.

A match written in stone ?

Carlos Alcaraz started the match on a roll. He got early break points. If the first two ones were saved by the British’s powerful first serves, the third one was clinched with an astonishing backhand dropshot. The Spaniard led 2/0 after a few minutes. In a conquering mindset, he always played with a feet inside the court. Daniel Evans’ floating sliced backhands weren’t enough to disturb the rally rythm. Carlitos got a double break thanks to an extraordinary forehand passing shot down the line. He confirmed this advantage with a perfect serve game : 4/0. Daniel Evans finally fought back. He played an agressive tennis to win his first game of serve. His young opponent looked calm. Without straining, he produced an explosive tennis to lead 5/1. The longest game of the match then began. Evans continued to build momentum and put pressure on Carlos Alcaraz. The two players came to the net one after another – to the delight of the Arthur Ashe Stadium. Daniel Evans saved three set points : 5/2. The latter managed to make the world number one doubt. He got two break points that escaped from him. Carlitos clinched the first set with a backhand smash.  

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The end of the set let us hope that the rest of the match would be more tied. Daniel Evans refused to be dominated in the rallies and took the game to his advantage.

Maybe not…

The British started with a love game. As soon as a short ball came at him, he rushed towards the net to win the point : 1/0. Carlos Alcaraz had a hard time with Daniel Evans’ strikes power. He got an early break – thanks to a dazzling backhand passing shot – which noted the beginning of a new encounter. Unfortunatly, the British’s serve betrayed him. He made two double faults in a row to allow Carlitos to pick up the score : 1/1. During a few games, Daniel Evans was surprisingly good. He unveiled a power that we didn’t expect as well as a will to go at the net each chance that he got. Surprised, Carlos Alcaraz needed a few minutes to adjust. The latter took advantage of the British’ haze to take the lead in the second set : 4/2. The end of the set was a treat for New-Yorkers. Unbelievable rallies followed one another : lobs, dropshots, smashes, tweeners and slides. Daniel Evans played the best tennis of his life but Carlos Alcaraz was just too perfect. The young prodigy led two sets to love (6/2 6/3).

The two players put in an unexpected performance. This fourth round match became exhilarating all of the sudden. A bit more consistency would have allowed Daniel Evans to trouble the first seed.

The third round started off as the second one. Full of confidence, Carlos Alcaraz hit divine forehand winners while Daniel Evans sticked at the net. Both players seemed to know what they had to do : 3/3. Until the seventh game, nothing separated them. Daniel Evans made two monstruous returns to get the first break points. The first one was saved  by a rally worthy of the encounter between Sinner and Alcaraz in Miami ; the British won the second one by hitting a perfect forehand passing shot that landed in one of the court’s corner. Carlitos seemed determined to not let the set slip out of his hands. He fought back until the last points. He saved three set points thanks to a string of winners. A first serve down on the T gave the third set to Daniel Evans : 4/6.

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The outcome of this set was unpredictable. It’s not Carlos Alcaraz’ tennis that wasn’t good enough but just his opponent who outdid himself.

An unavoidable outcome

The pressure was tangible at the beginning of the last set. The two players still thought about the previous set. The servers prevailed : 2/2. When they both freed their tennis, the spectators of Flushing Meadows stood up in the tribunes. Carlos Alcaraz and Daniel Evans had fun : they run after each ball, came to the net, slided and smiled. This was the perfect atmosphere for Carlitos. He won a love game before killing the suspens of the match. He broke his opponent’s serve thanks to an astonishing forehand winner down the line : 4/2. Juan Carlos Ferrero’s protégé was on cloud nine. He showed an outrageous level of tennis. Daniel Evans fought back flawlessly against his young opponent’s power – without it being enough. Carlitos seemed to fly above the court : 5/3. The latter ended this superb encounter of 3 hours and 19 minutes with a last forehand winner.

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The two players produced the most entertaining fourth round match of the New-York fortnight. Without taking any well-deserved credit away from Daniel Evans, Carlos Alcaraz is the common factor to all the matches that made the fans’ eyes sparkle all around the world this season. We can only look forward to his next gaemes !

Marnie Abbou

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