Carlos Alcaraz efficiently wins first-round match at Wimbledon 2024

Alcaraz chose to make his first-round match at Wimbledon drama-free. Here is what happened.
Carlos Alcaraz at Wimbledon 2024
Carlos Alcaraz at Wimbledon 2024 / Clive Brunskill/GettyImages

The best part of Carlos Alcaraz's first-round match at Wimbledon against Mark Lajal might have not happened in the match at all. The moment might have happened before Alcaraz defeated Lajal. Surprisingly, it was something that the Estonian posted on social media about the Spaniard that may have been more interesting than the match.

In reacting to tennis pundits speaking about Alcaraz's path to the championship - which, admittedly, does always seem to be a disservice to one's future opponents as it assumes they are easily beaten - Lajal wrote on social media that Alcaraz did not have a good road to the final because the Spaniard had to play him in the first round. There was some humor to the post, but confidence as well.

To be fair, the Estonian did get the first break of the match to lead 3-2 in the first set. Alcaraz was not landing his first serves - less than half - and was not getting much on his second serve, barely surviving an early service game. The break seemed to wake the Spaniard up, though.

Carlos Alcaraz overcomes Mark Lajal in the first round of Wimbledon 2024

Alcaraz broke right back at love and then held serve at love. The Spaniard obviously wanted to reset who the alpha was in the match. To be sure, it wasn't Lajal.

The match was closer than the Spaniard would have liked, however. He won in straight sets but barely pushed through in the first two. The final score was 7-6(3) 7-5 6-2. Lajal should have gained a lot of confidence from hanging with Alcaraz, but he is clearly no match for the overall skill of the Spaniard whose shot-making is otherworldly and historically excellent.

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Alcaraz is obviously one of the favorites at the grass-court major. He won the event last year in a thrilling five-set victory over Novak Djokovic. At that time, the world of men's tennis seemed to have changed and the Serb was no longer king but the Spaniard had taken his throne. That did not come to fruition, however, as Alcaraz would not win another tournament in 2023 and Djokovic would not lose one.

After a relatively poor start to 2024, Alcaraz won the French Open for the first time. The 21-year-old wunderkind now has three Grand Slam victories. The only major he hasn't won is the Australian Open. He is fully healthy and in great enough form to win Wimbledon again. Maybe the rest of this year will go differently for him than the end of last year did.

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