Jannik Sinner is forced to defeat on his debut at the Masters 1000 in Paris-Bercy. The South Tyrolean is stopped by the Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz placeholder image that, I do not pay for the almost three hours played yesterday against the landlord Pierre-Hugues Herbert, plays two more at very high intensity and surpasses the world number 9 for 7-6(1) 7-5 in just over two hours. This defeat puts the Italian in a complicated position for the ATP Finals: the hopes of qualification now depend on many other results and, inevitably, from next week, in which Stockholm could become an essential viaticum.
The first game already goes differently in the fight, with Alcaraz making (two aces) and undoing (two double faults and a recklessly called hawk). Sinner, who actually made his debut in the sixth point with a winning forehand, has a break point, but the Spaniard pushes to follow the serve to cancel it. The South Tyrolean gets the second chance still in thrust, the Iberian pulls the forehand off a lot and loses the serve. The chance to counterbreak Alcaraz gets it immediately, promptly canceled by Sinner with the straight-serve scheme. On the second attempt, however, it is 1-1 with a badly mistaken volley from the blue and an exchange won on the left diagonal.
The Spaniard has two chances of 1-3, but the South Tyrolean makes himself felt with his forehand and does not grant the extension. From this moment on, even with several good level exchanges, we never get to have a real situation in which one of the two puts the other in difficulty on the service. Thus we arrive at the tie-break, in which Alcaraz is lucky twice, first with a treacherous ribbon and then with a crooked lob that bypasses Sinner at the net – no one knows how. Then a couple of great points bring the Iberian to 0-4; the blue takes advantage of an error in width to recover a minibreak, but his double fault, another Spanish tape and a first outside of the opponent cause it to end up on 1-7.
On the boost of confidence, the world number 35 earns three consecutive break points in the third game of the second set, all canceled by Sinner’s excellent points right from the serve. Alcaraz has two further chances in the fifth game, where he plays a couple of notable points, but the blue picks up the pace with the first and saves himself again, as he does shortly after on a third risky situation. The game of 4-3 is the one in which the Murciano has to worry, finding himself twice on parity, but he manages to get out of it forcing a difficult (and vain) straight crossed Sinner and then closing well with the service. At 5-5, with the forehand that doesn’t want to stay on the pitch, the Italian concedes two more break points and again the forehand betrays him: ball in the net. A few minutes pass and the Iberian manages to close the accounts, going to challenge the French Hugo Gaston in the third round.
A good portion of the match goes to the account of free winners and mistakes: 13-26 for Sinner, 24-15 for Alcaraz. The effectiveness on the first serve was different: 61% for the blue, 80% for the eighteen year old from Murcia in terms of points won. There are no more Italians in the main draw of Paris-Bercy, which remains practically bewitched as a tournament for the Italian colors since the Palais Omnisports has existed.