US Open: Carlos Alcaraz tops injured rival and advances

Dominik Koepfer retired in the second set against Carlos Alcaraz

World no. 1 and the defending US Open champion Carlos Alcaraz made a winning start in New York on Tuesday night. Carlos met Dominik Koepfer at Arthur Ashe Stadium and finished the job in an hour, leading 6-2, 3-2 when his rival retired.

Dominik experienced a torn ligament in his left foot and retired in the middle of the second set, unable to compete at 100%. Alcaraz served at 73% and defended both break points, keeping the pressure on the other side. Dominik dropped half of the points in his games, defending eight out of 11 break chances but without an opportunity to continue the duel.

The German netted a backhand in the encounter’s first game and faced a break point. Dominik denied it with a booming serve and defended the second with another to stay in touch. Koepfer took a medical timeout after injuring his left foot, feeling the pain and receiving treatment.

Carlos Alcaraz is safely through to the second round in New York.

Dominik Koepfer & Carlos Alcaraz, US Open 2023© Al Bello / Staff – Getty Images Sport
Carlos created his third break chance and seized it with a deep return and a winner at the net that pushed him in front.

The defending champion grabbed the second game at 15 with a service winner and forged a break chance in game three after the rival’s backhand error. Koepfer denied it with a powerful backhand and closed the game with a forehand down the line winner.

Alcaraz erased a break point in game four with a forehand winner and faced the second after the rival’s massive forehand. The Spaniard saved it with a service winner and held with an ace for 3-1. Koepfer closed the fifth game with an unreturned serve, giving everything to stay competitive.Carlos held at 15 in the sixth game for 4-2 and earned three break points in the next one.

The Spaniard converted the third, building a 5-2 advantage and serving for the opener. The young gun fired a powerful serve in the eighth game for a hold at 15, taking the opener 6-2 in 38 minutes. Koepfer saved a break point at the beginning of the second set before Alcaraz held at love for 1-1.

The Spaniard broke his rival at love in game three, building the advantage and delivering another hold at love for 3-1, taking 12 straight points. Dominik saved two break points in the fifth game with winners and held to reduce the deficit to 3-2. However, he went to the net and shook Carlos’ hand, unable to continue the duel.

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