Carlos Alcaraz back to brilliance, bashes Andrey Rublev at ATP Finals

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

Prior to Wednesday at the ATP Finals, Carlos Alcaraz and Andrey Rublev had never faced each other. After Wednesday, Rublev might not want to play Alcaraz ever again. After a tight first set with each player holding serve until a late break by Alcaraz of Rublev, Carlos Alcaraz looked to be in early summer form.

Alcaraz dominated with his serve winning 94 percent of his first serves, an astonishing 32 of 34. He only had a second serve 13 times. He served with pace and placement and if he plays as well as he did on Wednesday, he could have beaten anyone else on the ATP tour.

If you had not watched tennis since Wimbledon and just read that sentence, you might have wondered why the words were written. But the fact is that Carlos Alcaraz has struggled mightily since July, not having won a tournament since the grass-court major. He has lost the first match he has played in his last two tournaments.

Carlos Alcaraz plays like old Alcaraz in defeat of Andrey Rublev

According to ATP No. 3 Daniil Medvedev, part of Alcaraz’s issue might have been that he lacked recent confidence and was thinking a bit too much. Possibly it helped Alcaraz to play a player like Rublev who swings hard at everything. With Rublev, there is little time to think and players just have to react. This was the kind of match Carlos Alcaraz needed.

Alcaraz finished with 21 winners and just 11 unforced errors while Rublev had 10 and 15, respectively. The Russian also began to meltdown in the second set as he repeatedly banged his racket against his knee causing the knee to become bloody. Rublev has always been far too hard on himself and many times he beats himself instead of the other player dominating the match.

On Wednesday, the situation was a combination of the two. Carlos Alcaraz played brilliantly in the 7-5 6-2 victory while Rublev began to wear on himself. Alcaraz will next play Medvedev on Friday with a chance to move into the semifinals of the ATP Finals. But after two losses in the round-robin event, Rublev is basically done.

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