Carlos Alcaraz comfortably dismantled Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets 6-3 6-4 to defend his Barcelona Open title.
A couple of months shy of his 20th birthday, the teenager – surrounded by friends and family in the Catalan capital – once again asserted his dominance over the hapless Greek, reaching a commanding 4 – 0 lead in their head-to-head battles.
A red hot favorite for the French Open
His timely return from injury, coupled with his three titles already in 2023, make him undoubtedly the man to beat at this year’s French Open.
The Spaniard’s chances are further enhanced due to injuries to the old guard, placing their participation into doubt. Rafael Nadal’s hip injury could curtail him from defending his French crown, while Novak Djokovic is nursing a sore hamstring.
Even at full fitness, these two legends will no doubt have their hands full against the precocious teen who has taken his game to unprecedented levels, exuding the fearlessness of youth to perfection.
With the game’s other young gun, Holger Rune victorious in Munich, the changing guard in the men’s game seems well and truly underway.
Back to the drawing board for Tsitsipas
For Tsitsipas, however, there seem to be more questions than answers as his meek capitulation once again brings his suspect temperament into question.
His talent is undeniable, but he has yet to convince his many detractors that he belongs amongst the game’s elite. Time after time, he has been found wanting when facing adversity, like last year’s French Open final which was the perfect opportunity to announce himself to the world.
Sadly, unlike Alcaraz, when faced with the same scenario at the US Open, the Greek star seems unable to seize his opportunity. Until he takes the next step, Tsitsipas must get comfortable facing questions about his shortcomings.
The French Open promises to be a watershed moment in men’s tennis. Can the old guard overcome injury and fatigue to triumph once again, or will Carlos Alcaraz or one of the nextgen seize the day? Exciting times indeed.