What Went Wrong for Carlos Alcaraz? A Critical Analysis of His US Open Exit

Since Carlos Alcaraz lifted the Wimbledon trophy in an epic battle against Novak Djokovic, tennis fans have been eagerly awaiting a rematch between the two players. While Djokovic did his part by securing a spot in the US Open final, Daniil Medvedev had other plans. In the second semifinal, Medvedev defeated Alcaraz, cutting short the young Spaniard’s journey towards a second consecutive US Open title. The question now arises: what went wrong for Carlos Alcaraz? Let’s analyze his exit and explore four key takeaways.

Throughout the match, the 20-year-old displayed a display of emotions unlike his opponent. Medvedev remained composed and serene, whereas Alcaraz showed signs of frustration and anger. It was during the first set tiebreak that Alcaraz uncharacteristically lost his cool and almost smashed his racket in frustration. This loss of control seemed to be the turning point of the match. Alcaraz admitted, “I totally lose my mind on that set. It was really tough for me to handle it.” Medvedev capitalized on Alcaraz’s emotional vulnerability, further adding to his chances of success.

Medvedev’s coach, Gilles Cervara, emphasized the importance of the mental game and its impact on the outcome of the match. While aggressive, attacking tennis was part of the strategy, Cervara believed that mindset played an equally crucial role in Medvedev’s upset. The Russian player had previously failed to win a set against Alcaraz in their two encounters this year. However, Cervara’s guidance and Medvedev’s mental strength enabled him to perform at his best. Medvedev himself admitted, “Before the match, I said I needed to play 11 out of 10 to win today. I played 12 out of 10.” Alcaraz acknowledged Medvedev’s superior craftiness, questioning his own maturity in handling matches of this caliber.

Alcaraz struggled to counter Medvedev’s game, particularly his speed and precision. The Russian player displayed impressive shot placement, a powerful forehand, flawless serve, and exceptional return skills. In the first two sets, Medvedev’s first serve success rate was an outstanding 88 percent, putting Alcaraz under constant pressure. Furthermore, Alcaraz failed to capitalize on the majority of his break point opportunities, while Medvedev proved to be a formidable force, breaking Alcaraz three times in seven attempts. Alcaraz acknowledged Medvedev’s talent, stating, “He found great directions with his shots, made no mistakes and had a great serve today.”

The media hype surrounding a potential Djokovic-Alcaraz rematch put undue pressure on both players. Medvedev expressed his frustration with the focus on their potential encounter, stating, “But then the tournament starts and hopefully we can … we’re going to try to beat them and stop them from playing each other.” Despite being the third-ranked player in the world and having a strong track record in New York, Medvedev entered the match as the underdog. In contrast, Alcaraz was seen as the favorite to secure another US Open title. Alcaraz admitted that he still has much to learn and improve upon, emphasizing the need for introspection and growth.

Carlos Alcaraz’s US Open exit can be attributed to a combination of factors. Medvedev’s composed and calculated demeanor, coupled with his mental fortitude, allowed him to seize every opportunity that presented itself. Alcaraz’s loss of control during the first set tiebreak further contributed to his downfall. Medvedev’s dominant performance, particularly his strong serve and return skills, placed Alcaraz at a disadvantage throughout the match. The overwhelming hype surrounding a potential Djokovic-Alcaraz rematch added unnecessary pressure to both players. Ultimately, Alcaraz’s exit serves as a valuable learning experience that highlights the need for continued growth and development.

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