World No 1 Carlos Alcaraz breezes into last eight of Paris Masters

An animated Carlos Alcaraz

Grigor Dimitrov had no chance to recover from a poor start to his Round of 16 match against Carlos Alcaraz.

The World No 1 breezed to a 6-1, 6-3 victory that saw him through to the quarter-finals of the final ATP Masters event of 2022.

Alcaraz won nine of the first ten games of the match and had put Dimitrov away before the Bulgarian even got into gear.

“I started playing pretty well,” said Alcaraz after the match. “[Grigor’s] level is very much not the level you saw today, but I played very well. At the end of the second set, it was tougher for me, he came back, he raised the level and obviously it was tough. He had the chance to go up in the second set, I had to stay calm in that moment and show my best to not allow him to go up.”

Alcaraz’s all-court game left the erstwhile World No 3 Dimitrov with few chances to even gain a foothold in the match.

The Spaniard dropped just two points behind a precision serve in the first set; picking up where he had left off in his straight-sets win against Yoshihito Nishioka in his opening match of the tournament.

He had enjoyed a bye through the first round as the top seed.

Dimitrov would find his feet briefly and reeled off three straight games from 0-3 down in the second set to draw level before carving out two break point opportunities for a 4-3 lead.

However Alcaraz’s relentless consistency proved crucial.

“In that moment you have to stay calm, to think [about] what is happening and after that try to change a little bit,” said Alcaraz, when asked about Dimitrov’s second-set comeback. “I [made] a couple of mistakes at the beginning of the match, but after that I stayed calm.”

The teenaged No 1 held off the Bulgarian’s charge to advance to the quarter-finals for the first time in Paris, where he will take on Holger Rune who upset seventh seed Andrey Rublev in the latest big win for the precocious Dane.

If Alcaraz can lift his third Masters 1000 trophy of the year in Paris, the 19-year-old would be confirmed as the year-end No 1 in the ATP Rankings ahead of his debut appearance at the ATP Finals in Turin.

Alcaraz admits he enjoys getting to play in front of his parents in the French capital, where he also received the ATP No 1 trophy during a ceremony on Monday evening.

“It’s such a pleasure,” said Alcaraz. “It’s tough to bring them to tournaments, and to have them in the box during the week is so special. Of course, taking the trophy for No. 1 in front of them was so special for me.”

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