Carlos Alcaraz plays with food before winning French Open second-round match

Alcaraz did not make the match easy on himself, but he is through to the third round at Roland Garros.
Carlos Alcaraz pushes through at the French Open
Carlos Alcaraz pushes through at the French Open / Clive Brunskill/GettyImages

Of the favorites on the men's side of the French Open, Carlos Alcaraz is the first one to drop a set. He did so against the awesomely named Jesper de Jong in the second round. While rivals Novak Djokovic, Jannik Sinner, and Alexander Zverev haven't necessarily had easy matches, they did not have to play any longer than it took to win three sets.

Against de Jong, Alcaraz never truly had an easy time. He took the first two sets 6-3 6-4, but a point here or there might have changed the course of the set. Had that occurred, de Jong might have beaten Alcaraz. Instead, the energy needed to take three straight sets from the young Spaniard was too much for de Jong.

This might have been the kind of match that Alcaraz needed, though. He has dealt with various injuries in 2024 and recently missed the Italian Open due to a forearm problem. The only way to get back into full tennis shape is to, of course, play tennis matches. Potentially, being tasked with an extended match early in the French Open could help Alcaraz later in the event.

Carlos Alcaraz struggled in the second round but pushed through at the French Open

Still, Alcaraz has to be concerned that he was dominated by the Dutch qualifier in the third set. De Jong was playing well and gaining confidence throughout the match since he could hang with Alcaraz, but the top end of the ATP will not need to learn that confidence during a match with the young Spaniard; they will have it entering the match.

In other words, Carlos Alcaraz needed to put away de Jong much earlier since he had a two-set lead. To lose 2-6 in the third set should be inexcusable to Alcaraz. More over, starting the fourth set by being broken (twice!) after being broken twice in the third set might have caused Alcaraz to immediately hit the practice courts following the match.

Alcaraz had to be thankful that in the fourth set, he was able to break de Jong right back after Alcaraz had been broken - de Jong failed to win a service game in the fourth set.

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Part of Alcaraz's issue is that he was hitting far too many unforced errors in all kinds of manner. An easy return at the net would not make it across, and a baseline forehand would go wildly long. Little of Alcaraz's game made sense for much of his second-round match.

The plan in any tournament, of course, is to win and move on to the next round. Alcaraz was able to do that by beating de Jong 6-3 6-4 2-6 6-2, but he cannot feel good about how he played. That might still help him the rest of the French Open, though.

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