Carlos Alcaraz shakes off rust to trounce JJ Wolf at French Open

Alcaraz dropped the first game of the match and turned it on after that.
Carlos Alcaraz plays in first round of the French Open
Carlos Alcaraz plays in first round of the French Open / Clive Brunskill/GettyImages

Carlos Alcaraz is back. After struggling with injuries for much of 2024, including his most recent issue with a tweaked forearm, Alcaraz could not have been blamed for having a bit of rust to open the French Open. That might have been the case, too. At least for one game.

Alcaraz lost the first game of his opening-round match against American JJ Wolf and then proceeded to win the next eight games. Wolf dug his own proverbial grave early in the match as well. He landed only 47 percent of his first services in the first set and then only won 11 percent of his second serves. This trend would continue throughout the match. Alcaraz did not need much help to take control of the match, but Wolf unwillingly offered assistance anyway.

Part of the problem is that while Wolf is a fantastic athlete, he does not have the consistent power to make Alcaraz uncomfortable. To be sure, Wolf can power through the ball, but he doesn't repeat the speed over and over and seems to tighten at times. The Spaniard was able to run around shots and use his immense forehand to either put points away directly or force Wolf into errors. The American never truly had a chance.

Carlos Alcaraz plays like the favorite of the French Open in his first-round victory

One question about Alcaraz's fitness was whether he would feel tasked by having to win a best-of-five match. In most tournaments, of course, a player wins two sets, and the match is done, but that is not the case at Grand Slam events. If Alcaraz was going to struggle with fitness during his French Open run, that issue did not pop up fully in the first round.

The Spaniard might have tired slightly midway through the third set as he was broken while up 3-love. Perhaps the roof being closed due to some rain might have altered things for Alcaraz as center court became more humid and hot. He was still too far ahead for any slight drop in form by the Spaniard to affect the outcome.

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After all, after Wolf broke Alcaraz in the third set, Alcaraz broke right back.

If Alcaraz continues to play as well as he did against Wolf, the matches will likely be closer than the 6-1 6-2 6-1 victory he had over Wolf, but he should also be expected to win against anyone he faces. The Spaniard's deepest run at Roland Garros so far is the semifinals in 2023. Alcaraz should be the favorite at this point to win the French Open (which would be his third major title).

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