A rematch of their title clash of the 2021 Next Gen ATP Finals, Carlos Alcaraz vs Sebastian Korda promises to be entertaining round of 32 encounter at Monte Carlo Masters on Wednesday. Alcaraz returns to his favourite surface high on confidence after his remarkable run so far this season. At the recently concluded Miami Masters, he became the tournament’s youngest champion. In the process, Alcaraz reached a career-high ranking of world #11 on the ATP tour.
Following his memorable win in Miami, the Spaniard is now 18-2 so far this season, behind only Rafael Nadal’s 20 wins in 2022. Since his breakthrough win over Stefanos Tsitsipas at last year’s US Open, the 18-year-old has made a meteoric rise on the tour. His triumph on clay at the Rio Open earlier this February should give him plenty of confidence as he hopes to claim a maiden Monte Carlo Masters title. While Alcaraz is in tremendous form, he faces a tricky challenge in the form of Korda in his tournament opener in Principality. Korda got the better of Botic van de Zandschulp in straight sets 7-5 6-4 in his round of 64 clash in Monaco.
In his nascent career, with his determination and willingness to become an all-court player, Alcaraz’s stature on the tour has risen in spades in the last few months. There is no obvious weakness in his game. His return game coupled with his skills at the net at his age make him one of the most promising young players in the game. In their only meeting so far on the ATP Tour, Alcaraz secured a thumping 4-3 4-2 4-2 straight sets win over Korda in the final at the ATP NextGen Finals in Milan last year.
While Korda does possess all the shots in the book, his ability to remain consistent over a long period of time is questionable. His resilience and patience will be put to the test in this match against Alcaraz. With both the players strong off their forehand wing from the back of the court, the upcoming battle promises to be a feast of brutal baseline exchanges if they simultaneously manage to hit the top gear.
The way Alcaraz finishes the points at the net might be the difference. Against a swift mover like Korda, Alcaraz must aim to choose the right moments to step in and finish the points at the net. On the other hand, Korda should aim to vary his return position, especially on Alcaraz’s second serves, to put pressure on Alcaraz’s service games. Since their last meeting in November 2021, Alcaraz’s level of tennis has improved considerably, whereas Korda has been inconsistent, succumbing to several early exits so far in 2022. On Wednesday in Monaco, Korda must bring out his best game to overcome Alcaraz’s resilience.
Can Alcaraz, continuing his dream run, overpower Korda? Or will Korda produce breath-taking tennis to stun the Spaniard?
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