An 18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz made a winning start at the €132,280 Oeiras 3 Challenger in Portugal, beating Yasutaka Uchiyama 6-0, 6-3 in just over an hour. The young Spaniard saved three out of four break chances and stole 60% of the return points to secure six breaks from seven opportunities and march into the next round. On May 5, Carlos celebrated the 18th birthday and played against his idol Rafael Nadal in the Madrid Open second round. For the upcoming star, it was an incredible experience that he will never forget. Nadal defeated Alcaraz 6-1, 6-2 in an hour and 17 minutes in the clash between the present and the future of the Spanish and world’s tennis.
In April, a teenager reached the Marbella semi-final and scored the first Masters 1000 victory in Madrid against Adrian Mannarino, earning a chance to fight against the 20-time Major winner. The youngster couldn’t do much against the mighty opponent, experiencing an injury in the early stages and playing way below his best. Rafa lost serve once and turned over 60% of the return points won into five breaks that propelled him through. Carlos made a strong start in the first game and earned a break chance, wasting it and allowing Rafa to close the game with a service winner.
Carlos Alcaraz spoke about his first match against Rafael Nadal in Madrid.
Nadal forced the rival’s error in game two to grab the first break before Alcaraz experienced that injury a few minutes later, taking a medical timeout and losing momentum. Rafa won the third game and seized another break for a 4-0 advantage. The more experienced Spaniard held at love with a service winner at 5-1 to wrap up the opener in 36 minutes. Nadal seized two breaks at the beginning of the second set before Alcaraz pulled one back to reduce the deficit and show the fighting spirit. Leaving that game behind him, Rafa placed a perfect return winner for a break at love in game five and crossed the finish line with a smash winner at 5-2 on his third match point.
“I will never forget my match against Rafa in Madrid. It was an incredible experience. Playing Challengers is not a problem for me. I still need to play these events to improve my ranking and get in the ATP draws directly. Oeiras is a very strong tournament; I want to win it, and I have the level to fight for the title,” Carlos Alcaraz said.