News USA At the moment of truth, Nadal and Alcaraz set the pace

At the moment of truth, Nadal and Alcaraz set the pace

At the moment of truth, cards up. The door of the second week opens and, taking the temperature of the tournament and Serena Williams already fired, the eyes go shamelessly towards two other proper names. In New York, these days, there is no player who drags as much as Rafael Nadal, whose path generates eddies with the aim of getting a photo or a signature. Carlos Alcaraz is also highly sought after, sweating the same route towards the Arthur Ashe locker room and accepting the selfie, always wearing dentures. “Come on Rafa!”. “C’mon Carlitos!”. Both engage, both set the pace. The days go by and one and the other begin to grow: indeed, they are already here.

Nadal’s speech (6-0, 6-1 and 7-5 to Richard Gasquet in the third round) reveals between the lines that he is beginning to recognize himself and that Thursday’s collapse against Fabio Fognini was “a slightly abnormal situation ”. Two nights later, he completes a restorative session against Frenchman Gasquet, an old friend and even an ally: 18-0 already in particular. Only Novak Djokovic (18-0 with Gael Monfils) has signed a similar cruelty. “Overcoming complicated moments strengthens you mentally and tennis-wise”, values ​​the Balearic, who for the first time in this edition will perform (around 8:00 p.m., Eurosport) in the day shift, against the American Frances Tiafoe (26th in the world, 24 years old).

“I have raised the bar. It has been an important game for me, with a better feeling, but now we have to keep increasing it”, she demands. “Difficult situations help you achieve a medium-high level that gives you peace of mind. He had done a good previous week of training, but without playing games, which meant he had not competed for many weeks [tras la retirada en Wimbledon por el abdominal]. I trust that the two sets from the other day [frente a Fognini] and today’s game [ante Gasquet] allow me to face the second week with options to raise the level”, extends the champion of 22 majors, undefeated this season in the majors (22 wins, no losses).

Despite all the setbacks, he marks the pace of a tournament and a course that also underlines the superb performance of Alcaraz. The young man from El Palmar (triple 6-3 to Jenson Brooksby) is already the tennis player who has signed the most wins (47) in 2022, ahead of the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas (46). After a hectic summer, in which the titles in Hamburg and Umag escaped him, and in which he acknowledged having felt the pressure in Montreal and Cincinnati, he is regaining his spirit in Flushing Meadows, increasingly loose and more decisive.

Nadal sprints during the match against Gasquet.JAMIE SQUIRE (AFP)

“Yes, I am enjoying myself and having a good time. I think the level at which I’ve played confirms it, I’m doing quite well. And that’s what I have to keep doing, enjoying myself”, says the man from Murcia, who progressed to the quarterfinals last year and this time is one of the candidates. “The truth is that I am quite confident in my game and my physique, in how I am feeling on the court,” he adds as a potential clash between him and Nadal in the semifinals is on the horizon. They all want it. After all, he and the Mallorcan are the wheels to follow in this exercise in which they impose rhythm.

The annual statistics reflect that the veteran (36) is the tennis player with the best winning average (90.2%) and that the 19-year-old apprentice (83.6%) is his immediate pursuer, both ahead of the absent Novak Djokovic ( 82.1% in his little intervention), Nick Kyrgios (79%) and Jannik Sinner (78.4%). There is also no tennis player who has lifted more trophies than the two of them, four per beard: Melbourne, Australia, Acapulco and Roland Garros for Nadal, and Rio, Miami, Barcelona and Madrid in Alcaraz’s showcase.

“In terms of creativity, he [Alcaraz] He is the best on the circuit. In that sense we can compare him with Rafa; the two are able to adapt to each situation in a fantastic way. He has improved in everything. He’s amazing when he steps on the court and he knows how to play big. He has a wide range of possibilities with his game, ”praises his rival in the round of 16, the Croatian Marin Cilic. They will be measured at the close of the day (around 3.00); Nadal, on the other hand, will debut in the day session after the three night rounds.

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Source: EL PAIS

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