Carlos Alcaraz to take lessons from David Goffin’s spanking

Carlos Alcaraz in action

World No 1 Carlos Alcaraz insisted he would learn from his shock first-round exit at the Astana Open on Tuesday after losing 7-5, 6-3 to Belgium’s David Goffin.

The US Open champion suffered his first straight-sets defeat since last November as veteran Goffin cashed in on his second chance as a lucky loser.

Alcaraz admitted that Goffin got the jump on him.

“He played better than me, really, really aggressive,” said Alcaraz.

“I couldn’t handle that pressure that he was pushing on me and of course it’s something that I have to learn and take lessons from this match.”

The 19-year-old No 1 was playing his first ATP tournament since his Grand Slam triumph at Flushing Meadows that saw him become the youngest ever world number one.

“Coming back to competition is never easy,” said Alcaraz.

“He (Goffin) played two matches here on this court. It’s not easy to get used to; it’s really, really slow. It was really tough on me, for my confidence.

“I tried to get used to this court so quickly, but I couldn’t and he was better than me in this match.”

Goffin earned his spot in the main draw by virtue if the withdrawal of Danish teenager Holger Rune.

Goffin plays French journeyman Adrian Mannarino in the last 16.

“I always believe that I have the level to cause some trouble against those guys,” said Goffin, a former top-10 player now ranked 66th.

“When you play against the world number one on a big stage, big crowd, the fire inside gives you so much power to play your best tennis because you don’t have any choice.

“You have to fight and give your best and that was the case today. I always believed I had it and I am happy you can still it there.”

The stunning result in Kazakhstan was 31-year-old Goffin’s third win against a World No 1, after victories over Rafael Nadal in 2017 and 2020.

Alcaraz last suffered a straight sets defeat at the hand’s France’s Hugo Gaston at the 2021 Paris Masters.

The top-ranked Spaniard had taken at least a set in every one his 62 matches this season prior to Tuesday’s upset.

Later in the day, Daniil Medvedev cruised to a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

The former World No 1 is attempting to nail down a place at the ATP Finals in Turin.

Already qualified for the showpiece, Astana Open third seed Stefanos Tsitsipas eased past Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3, 6-4.

The Greek is hunting a third title of the season. He reached 50 tour-level wins in 2022 after breaking Kukushkin once in each set.

“It was a great match from my side,” said Tsitsipas, who faces Italian qualifier Luca Nardi, for a quarter-final place.

Novak Djokovic is due to face Cristian Garin on Wednesday after winning the 89th title of his career in Tel Aviv last weekend.

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