Carlos Alcaraz continues struggles, loses first match at ATP Finals

(Photo by TIZIANA FABI/AFP via Getty Images)
(Photo by TIZIANA FABI/AFP via Getty Images) /

Carlos Alcaraz is not the Carlos Alcaraz we knew in July. That Alcaraz was ultra-confident, a fantastic returner, and was playing at a level high enough to vanquish Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final. The current Alcaraz, though, has lost his first matches at his last two tournaments and watched as there was a celebration for Djokovic for the Serb being ranked as the year-end No. 1 for the eighth time.

To be fair, though, there is no shame in losing to Alexander Zverev as Zverev defeated Alcaraz on Monday on the second day of the ATP Finals 6-7(3) 6-3 6-4. Zverev can swing away with the best of players and moves around the court with ease. But when the moments were the biggest in the match, Zverev was the better player and this is not how it would have been with Alcaraz just a few short months ago.

There was no bigger point than when Zverev was up 5-4 in the third set and Alcaraz had a break point to get back to even. Instead, Zverev simply whipped an ace past him and then unleashed two other gems of serve to take the game and match. Zverev finished with 16 aces against just 2 double faults. He played extremely well.

Carlos Alcaraz loses to Alexander Zverev at ATP Finals

The issue with Carlos Alcaraz, however, is he simply did not allow opponents to serve against him with that kind of domination until recently. He just seems to be a slight bit in between and in professional tennis, if you are even a millisecond behind, you will lose.

Zverev also broke Alcaraz three times. After losing the first-set tie-break, instead of giving up the match as lost, Zverev played better and harder. Alcaraz seemed to get worse. Whatever is going on with the Spaniard at least can be somewhat remedied in the month and a half off after the ATP Finals because at this point he could lose his next match and basically be out of the running for winning the tournament.

Carlos Alcaraz next plays Andrey Rublev who plays a lot like Zverev. Rublev moves the court well and has a huge forehand. Alcaraz is capable of defeating Rublev easily, though, just as he is nearly everyone else on the ATP tour. He just hasn’t really done that for a few months now.

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