Carlos Alcaraz had not played a warm-up tournament prior to the Australian Open and instead chose to play several exhibition matches. The lack of high-stress matches did not seem to bother the Spaniard as he destroyed Richard Gasquet in the first round of the 2024 Aussie Open 7-6(5) 6-1 6-2. By winning in straight sets to begin the tournament, Alcaraz accomplished something Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev could not do: Win their first-round match without dropping a set.
This might not matter right now, but as the long tournament goes on, players need all the stamina they can save. Each dropped set against a much less talented player is a waste of energy. Carlos Alcaraz should understand that well as by the end of 2023 he seemed gassed and was not in top form after winning Wimbledon in July.
Gasquet is a solid veteran who knows how to steal games here and there so Alcaraz's victory was even more impressive, especially after the tighter first set. Alcaraz did have a slightly tough time closing Gasquet out, however. Leading 5-2 in the third set, Gasquet managed to get the game to break point.
Carlos Alcaraz looked in top form in his first round match at the Australian Open
Gasquet also did not play poorly as he landed 74 percent of his first serves, but the Frenchman could not handle Alcaraz's power. Gasquet also finished with two more unforced errors. Alcaraz, though, dominated in terms of winners getting 53 to Gasquet's 19.
Alcaraz also controlled his second serve much better than Gasquet as Gasquet was only able to win 35 percent of his second serves. Alcaraz won 66 percent of his. Gasquet also never broke Alcaraz.
Alcaraz getting Gasquet was one of the trickier first round matches for a top seed on the men's side. Unlike Novak Djokovic or Daniil Medvedev, though, Alcaraz made his match look relatively easy. Carlos Alcaraz looked ready to challenge for the Australian Open title.