Carlos Alcaraz’s nightmare comes true, faces Tommy Paul again

Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /

Some matchups that appear as if they should be one-sided but aren’t simply make little sense. In baseball, Ted Williams was one of the greatest hitters to ever hold a bat in his hands, yet he struggled mightily against Carl Scheib while Scheib had issues getting most other hitters out. Mind you, I don’t mean to imply Tommy Paul is the equivalent to Scheib exactly, but Carlos Alcaraz might be Ted Williams’ tennis equal.

Carlos Alcaraz is a better player than Tommy Paul. The Spaniard does just about everything statistically better than the American. In their careers, Paul has won just 23 percent of his return games, while Alcaraz has won 42 percent. Tommy Paul has only won one title in his career and that was in 2021 and the indoor Stockholm tourney. Alcaraz has won 11 titles in the last two years.

And yet, for whatever reason, Tommy Paul gives Carlos Alcaraz fits. The two have played three times in a calendar year – twice at the ATP 1000 Masters in Canada and once at the ATP 1000 Masters in Miami – and Paul has won twice. This includes a victory of Alcaraz just last week.

Tommy Paul might be a great danger to Carlos Alcaraz

The difference in both of Paul’s wins was Carlos Alcaraz’s second serve. Paul basically has taken advantage of Alcaraz’s not having a dominant serve in Paul’s two wins. In the one match that Alcaraz won between the two, he was amazing with his first serve by winning 79 percent of the points when his second serve landed. In the two losses, Alcaraz has lost more than 50 percent of his second serves, though.

Maybe that is Alcaraz’s kryptonite. But why has no one else figured that out yet? Now Paul might get demolished on Thursday when the two players meet in the third round of the Western and Southern Open, but if Alcaraz doesn’t win a high number of his first serves then Paul could pull yet another upset.

Tommy Paul also has another thing going for him that most other players don’t against Carlos Alcaraz: Confidence. Paul knows he can beat Alcaraz. Whether he can do so again on Thursday is another question, however.

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