Carlos Alcaraz’s comments reveal killer mindset as he beats Casper Ruud in China
Carlos Alcaraz was in clinical form as he dispatched Casper Ruud at the China Open in Beijing and he revealed how his mindset ticks after the 61st win of his brilliant year.
The Wimbledon champion completed a 6-4, 6-2 win to reach his 12th semi-final of the season, as he maintained his perfect record against Ruud with a fourth straight win against the Norwegian.
Despite the relatively comfortable nature of the final scoreline, Alcaraz was pushed in the first set and the opening game lasted almost 15 minutes.
Alcaraz ended up losing that game and fell 3-0 behind in the first set, but his mentality around that intense opening as interesting as he reflected on his latest win.
“It was a really tough first game,” he said. “There were so many advantages and deuce and it sent a message to him that I am ready for the battle, I am in a good place.
“That game gave him an idea of how this match is going to be. Even after he broke me in the next game, he knew what was happening.”
A high-quality tournament in Beijing will test Alcaraz’s qualities in the next few days and he believes he is coming to the boil at the perfect moment.
“Everyone is saying this is the strongest ATP 500 tournament they have seen,” added Alcaraz, with Daniil Medvedev and Alexander Zverev also through to the semi-finals.
“It’s incredible how many top players are in this tournament and it is getting tougher every round. It will be a really tough semi-final, whoever I play against.
“I need to be really focused on that battle, but I am really, really happy with my level and my confidence as well.”
Alcaraz’s latest win saw him edge closer to Novak Djokovic in the ATP Race, which is calculated over the course of 2023.
The Spaniard is on course to take over at the top of that ranking from Djokovic if he performs well at the Shanghai Masters, yet the bigger story has to be the battle for the year-end world No 1 ranking on the ATP list.
Djokovic and Alcaraz qualified for the ATP Finals in Turin long ago, so the prize of winning the ATP Race for this year is a secondary battle to the chase to claim the world No 1 title.
While Djokovic may be the outstanding champion of 2023 after winning three Grand Slam titles, Alacraz’s consistency in other tournaments means he would be a worth year-end No 1.
His Wimbledon title ensured he stopped Djokovic claiming a clean sweep of the major titles this year and with Djokovic opting to skip the tournaments in Beijing and Shanghai, the opportunity is there for Alcaraz to make up ground on his big rival.
“We have really beautiful battle for the No. 1 spot after the great performance Djokovic had in the American season, let’s say. He’s the No 1 right now,” added Alcaraz.
“I’m coming here to China with extra motivation to try to recover it in the race, of course, in the ranking. As I said, it’s something that I have in my mind every time I practice, in every tournament.
“Is not obligatory for me to recover that, but of course, you have to put the goals in the year. So for me, No 1 spot is one of the main goals for me.
“In these great tournaments, I’m looking to do great to be able to be close or recover that number.
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