Carlos Alcaraz has very little time to dwell on his surprise defeat to Tommy Paul in the Cincinnati Open quarterfinals on Friday night and he is immediately focusing on Cincinnati Masters, where his hold on the No.1 ATP Ranking is under threat.
Novak Djokovic returns to American soil for the first time since 2021 and with no points to defend at the ATP Masters 1000 event the Serbian has the opportunity to reclaim the mantle he has held for 389 weeks throughout his career.
And Alcaraz doesn’t have an easy draw at the Lindner Family Tennis Centre. He is seeded to meet Paul for the second time in two weeks, this time in the third round. The American tennis player Paul ended Carlos Alcaraz’s 14-match winning streak when he upset the World No.1 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 in the quarterfinals at the Canadian Open.
“I realise that I didn’t play well, in these matches,” the 20-year-old said of a sketchy first tournament back after his Wimbledon triumph.
“So all I can do now is practise to be better. I have some weeks before the US Open. But now I have to be focussed on Cincinnati. It’s a Masters 1000. It’s a big tournament as well. Obviously, I take a lot of lessons from this tournament, coming to the next ones… I think I did some things well in this tournament, but probably everything can be better,” he added.
After slipping to 1-2 in his ATP head-to-head against Paul, who also beat him in Canada this time last year, the reigning US Open champion had high praise for the American, who has moved to a career-high No.12 in the Live ATP Rankings.
“He (Paul) is certainly a complete player. The matches that we have played have been really tough ones, last year in Miami and this one,” Alcaraz was quoted as saying by ATP Tour.
“He’s a really solid player. Has great talent, great shots. He’s really, really fast as well. So, he’s one of the best players in the world right now. There’s no doubt about it. He’s really tough on every surface. I mean, he’s a mix of everything. It makes him really, really tough,” he added.
Despite Friday’s defeat, Alcaraz still leads the ATP Tour with 49 match wins and six titles in the season. He also has a 940-point lead over Djokovic in the ATP Live Race To Turin. He is the only player to have qualified for this year’s ATP Finals, where he will make his debut after missing last year through injury.