American Tommy Paul comes back from a set down to defeat second seed, Carlos Alcaraz, claiming one of the biggest wins of his career.
In their first meeting at tour level, World No. 34 Tommy Paul displayed a solid performance to overcome Spanish star Carlos Alcaraz, playing his debut match at the ATP Masters 1000 in Canada on Wednesday.
The 25-year-old earned one of his most significant career victories at the National Bank Open presented by Rogers, shocking the World No. 4 with a hard-fought 6-7(4), 7-6(7), 6-3 triumph after three hours and 20 minutes.
In his on-court interview, Paul said: “I think I did a lot of things well today. I played a good level of tennis, especially there in the third set, so I’m happy to get through.”
INTO THE LAST 16 IN MONTREAL
The action-packed matchup saw the players exchanging early breaks of serve in a tight opener, which unfolded into a tiebreak the young Spaniard would win 7-6(4) in 67 minutes.
Following a challenging but successful start, the 19-year-old became the first player since Novak Djokovic (2011) to win at least one set in his first 50 matches of the season.
However, the outcome of his opener in Canada would not leave much room to celebrate the feat.
Looking more confident, Alcaraz hit back the court to contest the second set, producing an early break over the 2021 Stockholm Open champion and holding to open a 3-0 lead.
The Murcia native seemed to be marching on to a straight-set win, but from the second half of the second set, Paul hit back, raising his revel to narrow his adversary’s advantage from 3-0 to 4-3 after breaking the Spanish player.
Alcaraz reacted fast to level up at 4-4, saving four break points in the next game, but in his fifth attempt, Paul converted to earn a 5-4 lead.
Despite getting broken when serving for the set, the American held his nerve to force a tiebreak, which he won, 7-6(7), saving a match point.
The intense and competitive clash saw Paul closing out the final set in style 6-3, showcasing an impressive performance at the IGA Stadium throughout the encounter.
Speaking to Tennis Canada, Paul remarked: “I’m really happy with the result. At 1-4 in the second set, I told myself I had nothing to lose, and I had to hang in there. After a crazy tiebreaker, I was feeling really confident.”
The high-quality match featured all the right ingredients to savor a victory. Suspense, adrenaline, memorable rallies, over 10-minute games, points crucially won at the net, overall, a top tennis duel between two great players.
Furthermore, the American player arrived in Montreal from Atlanta, where he advanced into the quarterfinals, losing to eventual champion Nick Kyrgios, who later on Wednesday took out the top seed, Daniil Medvedev.
For his part, Alcaraz was contesting his first match on the hard-court surface since April in Miami, where he claimed his maiden ATP Masters 1000 crown.
“I think I got him in his first match on the hard courts,” Paul commented. “So hopefully, when we play next time, he [also] doesn’t have too many hard-court matches [under his belt].”
All in all, he won 65 percent of his first-serve point and 53 with his second, to his opponents 67 and 44 percent, respectively.
In addition, the American converted four from 19 breakpoints, firing four aces and committing three double faults.