The round of 16 between Carlos Alcaraz and the Italian Lorenzo Musetti had barely begun, on Sunday June 4 on a Philippe-Chatrier court open to the four winds, when a supporter of the Spaniard shouted in the first game: “This Roland is for you, Carlitos!” » The day before, Rafael Nadal blew his 37 candles on a hospital bed, having just operated on his left hip. As soon as the legend’s package with the fourteen Musketeer Cups was formalized on May 18, the odds of his young compatriot – he celebrated his 20th birthday on May 5 – melted a little more, big favorite of bookmakers this year with Novak Djokovic , who gave him his world number 1 chair a week before the meeting at the Porte d’Auteuil.
The entire tennis microcosm was already salivating at the idea of a possible final between the young king and his dolphin, who have been playing cat and mouse since the start of the season. But it was without counting on the sympathetic buffoon Daniil Medvedev, never short of jokes. By triumphing for the first time on clay, in Rome on May 21, the Russian came to insert himself in the standings between the two men.
Fate in turn was teasing by placing Djokovic (seed number 3) in the half of the Alcaraz table: if there was a meeting at the top, it could only take place in the semi-finals . To the great relief of the organizers, the two players did not stumble on the way to offer spectators, Friday, June 9, a final before the hour.
“In a Grand Slam context, Novak is still a favorite, estimates Camille Pin, who comments on the fortnight for Prime Video. He is his only enemy, he is not infallible emotionally, we saw him lose his means in a Major final…”: an allusion to his defeat at the US Open 2021, where he was in contention to sign the calendar Grand Slam (winning all four lifts in a calendar year). “But on the other hand, Alcaraz is more of a customer than last year, when it had just broken through, it was a bit early”, immediately add the old 61e world player.
A Herculean journey for the Murcian
The prodigy from El Palmar (Murcia) burst into the big world during a thunderous spring of 2022, first on hard then on ocher: semi-final in Indian Wells, then victories in Miami, Barcelona and Madrid. Still 141e world at the start of 2021, the protege of Juan Carlos Ferrero (winner at Porte d’Auteuil in 2003) emerged in sixth place at the time of playing his second “Roland”. Already, his name was mentioned among the contenders for the title and he himself said to himself ” ready “. But the German Alexander Zverev had dashed all his hopes in the quarter-finals (victory 6-4, 6-4, 4-6, 7-6).
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