Carlos Alcaraz is one of the brightest talents on the ATP Tour, and he now has the chance to mark his impressive 2022 season with his first breakthrough at a Grand Slam. Alcaraz already won two major ATP Tour singles’ titles at the start of the year, along with reaching the semi-finals of Indian Wells, where he played out a thriller against Rafael Nadal.
It was notable in that match that Nadal felt threatened by the performance of his Spanish heir. The older player’s experience bested the fledgling star in the end, but it did not dampen the enthusiasm for Alcaraz’s potential. The lessons learned allowed him to defeat not only Nadal at the Madrid Open but Novak Djokovic, too, in a memorable run to his second ATP Tour crown.
The 19-year-old’s potential has not shone through at Grand Slams yet as he suffered a disappointing exit in the round of 16 at Wimbledon at the hands of Jannik Sinner. At the same time, he was also defeated in the last eight of the French Open by Alexander Zverev.
A Successful Return?
Alcaraz will be hopeful of a return to form at the US Open, and he is backed in the tennis odds at 5/1, which could make him a compelling option to choose for a wager with a free bet offer from comparison sites such as OddsChecker. The presence of Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev at Flushing Meadows will make victory a challenging task for the Spaniard, but on his best day he can be more than a match for the top two players in the world on hard courts. Alcaraz put himself on the watch list of many spectators in the 2021 campaign, and he could be ready to take the next step forward in his career in 2022 by winning the US Open.
The Spaniard was outstanding in 2021, making an impact by defeating Cameron Norrie in the first round in straight sets. After reaching the third round, he faced off against the third seed, Stefanos Tsitsipas. The Greek was expected to make a significant run in the competition but did not have the composure when it mattered as Alcaraz won two sets via tie-breakers, including the decisive fifth, to advance from the contest.
Alcaraz was then forced to battle through another test of endurance against qualifier Peter Gojowczyk, he came through the challenge in five sets to reach his first Grand Slam quarter-finals. However, his exploits in his previous matches loomed large against Felix Auger-Aliassime, and he was forced to retire after only two sets. Despite the disappointment, there was more than enough to build on for the next season.
He indeed showed what he had learned in the third round of the Australian Open. The Spaniard harnessed the confidence built at the Australian Open to secure his first ATP Tour 500 crown at the Miami Open, beating a host of talented players, including Marin Cilic, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Hubert Hurkacz, before defeating Casper Ruud in the final. Alcaraz took one of the standout players of 2021, Matteo Berrettini, all the way to five sets before losing out on a tie-breaker.
The Madrid Open was even better. Alcaraz overcame Norrie in the round of 16 before facing the daunting prospect of Nadal on clay. However, the 19-year-old stunned his compatriot with a sensational performance to set up a contest with Djokovic in the semi-finals. Alcaraz displayed poise and composure against the Serb and won all the crucial points to secure another incredible result in three sets. After becoming the first man to beat Nadal and Djokovic in successive matches, defeating Zverev proved straightforward as he eased past the German in straight sets to secure the crown.
Alcaraz has lost his way since his victory in Madrid, although consistency is tough for young players to master. He has shown glimpses of his talent, but it is a challenge to maintain high standards amid the high level of competition and the grind of a complete ATP Tour season. Alcaraz has shown in the past that he can flip the switch to produce outstanding tennis, and the US Open provides the perfect opportunity for him to put the world on notice.
What do you think of Alcaraz chances at the US Open 2022?