Astana | Alcaraz suffers surprise defeat

Carlos Alcaraz, the 19-year-old Spaniard who a few weeks ago won the US Open to become the youngest world number one, suffered a surprising first round defeat at the Astana Open in Kazakhstan to Belgium’s experienced David Goffin.

I tried to get used to this court so quickly, but I couldn’t – and he was better than me in this match. Carlos Alcaraz

Playing in his first tour event since those heady days in New York, Alcaraz admitted after his 7-5 6-3 loss that he would learn from the experience.

It was Alcaraz’s first straight-sets defeat since last November’s Paris Masters where Frenchman Hugo Gaston got the better of him as an inexperienced player. Since then, he has always won a set in the 62 following matches.

On this occasion Goffin made the most of the match ‘practice’ he got coming through the qualifying competition though beaten in the final round and then given a second chance as a Lucky Loser when Denmark’s Holger Rune withdrew.

“He played better than me, really, really aggressive,” Alcaraz admitted.

“I couldn’t handle that pressure that he was pushing on me and of course it’s something that I have to learn and take lessons from this match.”

“Coming back to competition is never easy.

“He (Goffin) played two matches here on this court. It’s not easy to get used to, it’s really, really slow. It was really tough on me, for my confidence.

“I tried to get used to this court so quickly, but I couldn’t – and he was better than me in this match.”

Prior to arriving in Astana, Alcaraz played Davis Cup in Valencia winning one of his two singles rubbers to help Spain claim a place in the quarter finals.


David Goffin plays a forehand earlier during the Davis Cup

Martin Rose/Getty Images

Goffin plays Frenchman Adrian Mannarino, a 1-6 6-2 6-3 winner over wildcard Stan Wawrinka, in round two.

“I always believe that I have the level to cause some trouble against those guys,” Goffin, a former top-10 player himself now ranked 66, said.

“When you play against the world number one on a big stage, big crowd, the fire inside gives you so much power to play your best tennis because you don’t have any choice.

“You have to fight and give your best and that was the case today. I always believed I had it and I am happy you can still it there.”

It was Belgian’s third win against a top-ranked player, having beaten Rafael Nadal in 2017 and 2020.

In other action the second seeded Daniil Medvedev powered to a 6-3 6-1 victory over Spain’s Albert Ramos-Vinolas and Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas, the third seed, eased past Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3 6-4.

“It was a great match from my side,” said Tsitsipas, who goes on to face Italian qualifier Luca Nardi the 7-6(4) 6-2 winner over fellow qualifier Alexander Shevchenko, for a quarter-final place.

Karen Khachanov won his first match since reaching the US Open semi-finals, defeating American Maxime Cressy 6-4 7-6(3).





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