Sensational Qualifier Upsets Carlos Alcaraz in Paris Showdown

Russian qualifier Roman Safiullin defeated Spanish world number two Alcaraz 6-3, 6-4. Alcaraz, who was returning to the court after injuries to his lower back and left foot, earned a bye in the first round.

“He didn’t surprise me at all because I knew that he has been playing a great level these last few months, beating big guys, reaching finals,” said a disconsolate Alcarez. “I knew that he was going to play a high level.”

The 45th-ranked Safiullin of the globe overcame an early break by Alcaraz in the opening set and went on to win the first set 6-3.

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In the second set, the same thing happened: Alcaraz broke early to take the lead, but his opponent quickly responded. Alcaraz appeared far from his best, having only confirmed last Wednesday that he would participate in the competition.

“I just didn’t feel well, you know, on the court,” he said. “A lot of things to improve, a lot of things to practice.

“I think I didn’t move well. In the shots, I think I had a good quality of shots. But physically, in terms of movement, I have to improve a lot.”

Emerging Triumph for Safiullin and Zverev’s Grit”

Safiullin deserves significant praise for clinching a career-boosting victory in his first encounter with the Spaniard, maintaining composure, and serving out for the win, despite facing multiple deuce points in the decisive game. Meanwhile, the 10th seed Zverev, facing an initial setback, mounted a comeback to defeat Hungarian Fucsovics 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 in the Bercy Arena’s round of 64. Zverev’s quest to secure a spot among the top eight for the upcoming ATP Finals in Turin remains ongoing.

Dominic Spinley

Dominic Spinley

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