Carlos Alcaraz survives Frances Tiafoe in third round in Wimbledon classic

Alcaraz might have gotten the toughest test he will have at Wimbledon 2024.
Carlos Alcaraz at Wimbledon 2024
Carlos Alcaraz at Wimbledon 2024 / Clive Brunskill/GettyImages

Frances Tiafoe has not had the best of years so far in 2024. After reaching the top 10 of the ATP rankings in 2023, he has stumbled and tumbled to barely hanging on to the top 30. He is a better player than that, but he suffers with massively brutal inconsistency many times. If he is playing well, though, he is dangerous.

For much of his third-round match against 2023 Wimbledon champion Carlos Alcaraz, Tiafoe was in peak form. After trailing 2-4 to begin the first set, the American got two breaks of serve to steal the first set 7-5. The Spaniard took back the momentum to win the second set relatively easily at 6-2.

Alcaraz struggled through much of the first four sets with Tiafoe's serve which was around 130 MPH on first serves and extremely well placed. No played could have done much with Tiafoe's service games, even one as great as Alcaraz. The match was a battle of the American's serve and deft touch versus the Spaniard's consistency and ability to chase down anything on the court.

Carlos Alcaraz comes through in five sets against Frances Tiafoe in the third round at Wimbledon

That last part normally favors a great returner over the course of a long match. While each player matched the other's fantastic serving in the fourth set, the tie-break belonged to the Spaniard who only needed a couple of mini-breaks to change the course of the match. In other words, he did what Alcaraz does and allowed his talent to come through at the end.

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The problem for most other players, if not every other player if Alcaraz is in his best form, is that not only can Carlos Alcaraz hit shots that few others can and from impossibly extreme angles, but he is a never-ending onslaught of those shots. An opponent simply cannot try to demoralize the Spaniard by winning one set, they have to mirror his form throughout an entire match.

By the fifth set, Tiafoe looked as if he was tiring a bit. He did take a bit of a spill late in the fourth set but that did not seem to affect his movement. Alcaraz outplayed and out-conditioned the American. Both players would have beaten most anyone else they played with the kind of form they had in the third round, but Tiafoe is simply not as talented as Alcaraz over five sets. The Spaniard won 5-7 6-2 4-6 7-6(2) 6-2.

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