Alcaraz devastates Coria and Muguruza recovers instinct

Devastating from start to finish, Carlos Alcaraz more than confirmed on Thursday why he can leave New York with his first Grand Slam title and as the new number one in the world.

The 19-year-old Spanish prodigy swept Federico Coria 6-2, 6-1, 7-5, his second Argentine victim in as many appearances at this US Open.

“I’m looking better and better,” said the third seed on the court at Arthur Ashe Stadium.

Except for a drop in the third set, Alcaraz did not give his rival a break and accumulated 42 winning shots. He also countered nearly every attack from Coria, who was only able to capitalize on one of 14 break point opportunities.

Alcaraz had just defeated fellow Argentine Sebastián Báez in the first round, a match that he resolved in three sets due to the abandonment of his opponent due to an injury to his right leg.

It was left with a record of 7-1 against Argentine rivals. The only previous defeat was against Coria in Rio de Janeiro in 2020, when Alcaraz was 16 years old.

Coria and Alcaraz joked on the net about that moment. “He told me that thank goodness I beat you when you were 16 years old,” Alcaraz said.

“He has had a fantastic evolution,” said Coria, 78th in the ranking. “He has become an animal physically. He has improved a lot with the serve, which was his weakness. In every game he leaves you a ‘highlight’, he is a Playstation player”.

Alcaraz reached 46 wins this season and was the absolute leader in that section on the ATP tour.

But it is not satisfied. He wants a big first and climb to the top of the ranking.

“The year is not over yet. There are tournaments ahead”, he stated. “I have to keep showing these good feelings.”

Alcaraz is one of four players — along with Rafael Nadal, Daniil Medvedev and Casper Ruud — fighting for world number one at this US Open. Except Nadal, everyone has to reach the final to seize the throne.

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His next opponent will be American Jenson Brooksby, who defeated Croatian Borna Coric (seeded 25th) 6-4, 7-6 (10), 6-1, the new champion at the Cincinnati Masters.

MUGURUZA TAKES CONFIDENCE

After giving up just five points in a sweeping first set, Garbiñe Muguruza found herself down 1-4, 0-40 against Linda Fruhvirtova. The Spanish-Venezuelan reacted with solvency to sentence the victory 6-0, 6-4 over the 17-year-old Czech.

In the midst of a very low-key year, Muguruza (seeded 9) racked up wins for the first time since the Doha tournament in February.

“It gives me confidence,” said the 2016 French Open and 2017 Wimbledon champion. “What it gives you is that instinct that gets lost when you don’t play games and train a lot. When you are winning, you recover that feeling that I am a competitor”.

Her rival on duty will be the Czech Petra Kvitova. The 21st seed advanced without playing because her Ukrainian rival Anhelina Kalinina was unable to appear due to illness.

Paula Badosa, the other great Spanish card in the women’s draw as 4th seed, collapsed after winning the first set and succumbed 6-7 (5), 6-1, 6-2 against Croatian Petra Martic.

SWIATEK FORWARD

Iga Swiatek continues to win easily and stealthily

In this US Open, even the number one in the world understands being outshone while Serena Williams is still in the race.

“He totally deserves it. This is his moment”, said the Pole. “I just focus on playing and that’s the most important thing for me.”

The two-time French Open champion dispatched Sloane Stephens, a former US Open champion, 6-3, 6-2. Swiatek scored her 50th win this season, her most on the WTA tour.

Other winners on Thursday included Jessica Pegula (seeded 8), Belinda Bencic (13) and Victoria Azarenka (26), who did not receive a shout-out from Marta Kostyuk after beating the Ukrainian. Azarenka is from Belarus, a country that collaborated with Russia in the invasion of Ukraine.

Within the men’s draw, Jannik Sinner (11) and Marin Cilic (15), the 2015 US Open champion, also advanced.

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