Spanish prodigy Carlos Alcaras lost in the final for the first time! In the decisive match of the ATP-500 tournament in Hamburg, Rafael Nadal’s heir collapsed, losing in three sets.
The ATP-500 tournament in Hamburg is quite prestigious and representative in the July part of the calendar. At one time, it belonged to the Masters category – from its inception in 1990 until the reform of the calendar. This status in 2009 passed to Shanghai, which, by the way, has not been played for the third consecutive season. Well, Hamburg has since become a “five hundred”. It was won in different years by such tennis players as Ivan Lendl, Stefan Edberg, Gustavo Kuerten. Roger Federer won four times here, Rafael Nadal won twice, Russians Nikolai Davydenko (2009) and Andrey Rublev (2020) scored once.
The main star of the draw in 2022 was the 19-year-old Carlos Alcaraz, whom many call Nadal’s heir. One of the intrigues of the tournament was whether the Spanish prodigy could repeat the achievement of Rafael and at such a young age break into the top 5 at the end of the tournament. To do this, he had to reach the final. And Carlos successfully coped with this task. The most difficult fight before the final was for Alcaraz the match of the 1st round with compatriot Nikola Kun. Carlos had to recoup from the score 0:1 in sets, and he won only in the tie-break of the 3rd set. Then things went better for Alcaraz: he beat Filip Krajinovic, Karen Khachanov and Alex Molchan without losing the game. Moreover, the Russian gave Carlos only two games per match. So Carlos completed an important task – he guaranteed getting into the top 5 of the ATP rankings for the coming Monday.
Alcaraz broke into the top 5! The Spanish prodigy will fight for the 5th title of the season
In addition, the Spaniard made it to his 6th career final and 5th this season. It is curious that in all previous cases, Alcaraz not only won the title in the end, but also did not give up a set to his opponents. Moreover, he won two Masters series tournaments – Miami and Madrid-2022, two ATP-500 – Rio de Janeiro and Barcelona-2022 and one ATP-250 – Umag-2021. His opponent in the decisive match in Hamburg was the Italian Lorenzo Musetti, who is a year older than Carlos, but at the same time only made it to the final of the ATP level for the first time. Lorenzo will be remembered by many for Roland Garros 2021, where he reached the 4th round, where he led the future champion Novak Djokovic 2-0 in sets, but could not build on his success and at the end of the 5th set withdrew. Before the final in Hamburg, Musetti only defeated the current top 10 tennis player Diego Schwartzman (at that time the 9th racket of the world) in Acapulco 2021 and Felix Auger-Aliassime (9) in Monte Carlo 2022 only twice in his career.
Up to this point, Musetti and Alcaraz had not played each other. And by the way, not everyone shares the enthusiasm for the rapid rise of Carlos and his comparison with the young Nadal. So the famous Spanish tennis player David Ferrer, who fought Rafael on the court many times, said: “Alcaraz is an excellent player, and, without a doubt, he will be a more successful tennis player than me. But it will be loudly said that this is the new Nadal. Carlos has to make his career. I am sure he will become the first racket of the world and will win the Grand Slam tournaments, because in terms of psychology he is an accomplished player. I know his team very well, his representative Albert and the coaching staff with Juan Carlos Ferrero at the head, who was the first number in the world rankings. He has very clear ideas.”
David Ferrer’s fears were confirmed. Alcaraz in the decisive match in Hamburg allowed the opponent to immediately take the lead with a break – 1:0, he immediately managed to level the score – 1:1, but in the 7th game Lorenzo made another break – 4:3, and the Spaniard had the rest of the game there was no longer a single chance on someone else’s pitch. The set was left for the Italian – 6:4 in 43 minutes. So Carlos for the first time in his career lost the game in the final match. At the beginning of the second set, Musetti again clung to someone else’s serve and led with a break – 1:0, and for the time being he acted impeccably on his own. The first bell sounded in the 8th game, when he was able to bounce back from 0:40. But during the filing for the match, Lorenzo missed a double match point and allowed the opponent to level the score – 5:5.
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At this moment, Alcaraz, perhaps for the first time in the match, violently showed the emotions accumulated inside – he screamed and began to demand from the stands to applaud him. It came to a tie-break, by the way, already the 4th for Carlos in this tournament. And he won the previous three – against Kun, Krajinovic and Molchan. But this time, Musetti was very close to victory, but lost another triple match point and allowed the opponent to move the final into the decisive 3rd game – 7:6 (8:6). In the third set, the tennis players clearly kept their pitches, until Alcaraz had a failure in the 10th game. This time, Lorenzo immediately converted the most important break point, aka match points – 6:4, 6:7, 6:4 in 2 hours and 49 minutes.
So Carlos Alcaras lost for the first time in his career in the final of the ATP tournament, and Lorenzo Musetti won his first title. At the same time, Alcaraz continues to share the lead in the season with Nadal – they have 4 titles each, and the Norwegian Kasper Ruud, who won the main trophy in Gstaad, already 3rd of the season, has risen to 3rd place, and has caught up with Russian Andrey Rublev in this indicator.
The leaders of the 2022 season by the number of titles:
1-2. Alcaraz – 4 titles (Rio de Janeiro, Miami, Barcelona, Madrid)
1-2. Nadal – 4 (Melbourne, Australian Open, Acapulco, Roland Garros)
3-4. Rublev – 3 (Marseille, Dubai, Belgrade)
3-4. Ruud – 3 (Buenos Aires, Geneva, Gstaad)
In the last week of July in Kitzbühel and Umag, the clay season should end and at the same time the American hard season will begin in Atlanta.