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A STERN TEST | French Open: Alcaraz passes tough de Jong test to advance as rainy disrupts schedule

IANS | Updated on Thursday, May 30, 2024 10:10 AM IST
French Open: Alcaraz passes tough de Jong test to advance as rainy disrupts schedule

PARIS: With Wednesday's schedule at the French Open disrupted by incessant rain, Spanish third seed Carlos Alcaraz overcame a stern test from Dutch qualifier Jesper de Jong to reach the third round.

With matches possible only on the two show courts -- Court Philippe Chatrier and Court Suzanne Lenglen that are covered by a roof, Alcaraz won one of the three men's singles matches that could be played on Wednesday.

But it was a difficult outing as the former World No.1 was taken to four sets and eventually prevailed 6-3, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 to reach the third round.

The Spaniard, a former US Open and Wimbledon winner, started well but dropped his level in the third set and trailed by a break in the fourth. However, with the situation starting to get serious, the 21-year-old Alcaraz regained concentration and rediscovered his consistency to overcome De Jong.

The No. 3 player in the PIF ATP Rankings is competing for the first time since Madrid after he missed Rome due to an arm injury. Alcaraz blitzed J.J. Wolf for the loss of just four games in his opening match in Paris but showed signs of rustiness against de Jong in the pair’s first Lexus ATP Head2Head meeting.

The 23-year-old de Jong troubled Alcaraz with his consistent depth but tired in the closing stages of the match, having entered off the back of a four-hour, five-set win against Jack Draper in the first round.

Alcaraz hit 35 winners but committed 47 unforced errors under the roof on Court Philippe Chatrier. He eventually sealed victory after three hours and eight minutes when de Jong struck a forehand into the net. The 20-year-old will hope to improve when he plays Sebastian Korda or Soonwoo Kwon in the third round.

Alcaraz is chasing his third major, having won the US Open in 2022 and Wimbledon in 2023. His best result at the clay-court Slam came in 2023 when he fell to Novak Djokovic in the semifinals.

Outer-court play at Roland Garros has been washed out for the rest of Wednesday as persistent rain continues to pour down on Paris. All of Wednesday's outer-court second-round matches, both in progress and scheduled, have been postponed to Thursday at the earliest.