French OpenGrand Slams

Alcaraz Stuns Korda in Straight Sets Sweep

After his defeat at Monte Carlo, Alcaraz turns the tables on Sebastian Korda in a brisk three-set match. Djokovic and Nadal also enjoyed swift victories, though they used different strategies to reach the fourth round of Roland Garros.

Carlos Alcaraz defeated Sebastian Korda 6-4, 6-4, 6-2 in the third round of the French Open.

This marks a return to easier matches for the teenager, winning in straight sets against Juan Ignacio Londero during the opening round but then experiencing a five-set epic against countryman Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

Alcaraz’s latest victory was also in stark contrast to his previous meeting with Korda. Just last month at the Monte Carlo Masters in April, and on clay too, Korda battled Alcaraz and split two tiebreak sets between them.

The American used his pin-point serve and down-the-line shots to weaken Alcaraz’s court position, move him around, and deny him the chance to attack. Eventually, Korda won, 6-7, 7-6, 6-3.

Alcaraz vs Korda, 2022 Monte Carlo, Round of 32

But at Roland Garros, Alcaraz learned from Monte Carlo and took the fight to Korda at crucial stages. Korda could fire down nine aces to Alcaraz’s one but failed to convert any of the five breakpoint opportunities.

However, Alcaraz converted 4 of 15, with two occurring in the final set. Korda repeated the same strategy of going for winners down the line and stretching his opponent. But Alcaraz’s speed and movement on the clay were astounding.

Though placed on the defensive at times by Korda, Alcaraz tracked down balls that should have been winners, stayed in the rally and went for a winner of his own.

alcaraz forehand

In a repeat of his second-round match against Ramos-Vinolas, Alcaraz became difficult to put away in lengthy exchanges due to the fast court coverage.

Alcaraz flipped intentionally shorter balls and drop-shots into a series of passing shots, weakening Korda’s belief.

Alcaraz found great accuracy; his drop-shots landed with enough spin to win the point, a lob hit clean on the baseline, and forehands grazed the side-lines.

Alcaraz vs Korda, 2022 Roland Garros, Third-Round

Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal consolidated their tournament progression with robust third-round victories.

By using his outstanding return game to neutralise potent serves, Djokovic swiftly dispatched Aljaž Bedene, 6-3, 6-3, 6-2.

Caught off-guard by the length of the return, Bedene would have to fall back, while Djokovic would come forward and take command of the rally.

Bedene’s comparatively weaker returns found their way into the middle of the court, only for Djokovic to take full advantage and hit an angled groundstroke.

Djokovic appeared relaxed and easy, happy to rally from behind the baseline and wait for Bedene to make a mistake before ramping up ball speed or executing his signature French Open drop-shot.

Djokovic’s three straight-set victories have enabled him to preserve his body, ready for a fourth-round clash against Diego Schwartzman.

Djokovic vs Bedene, 2022 French Open, Third-Round

Meanwhile, Nadal demolished Botic van de Zandschulp, winning 6-3, 6-2, 6-4.

Instead of a steadier approach like Djokovic, Nadal stayed close to the baseline, sometimes hitting half-volley groundstrokes for a clean winner. He quickly asserted himself in rallies, gaining control with significant topspin and power.

Taking advantage of van de Zandschulp’s tall height and long legs, Nadal moved his opponent around the clay, depleting his energy and mitigating the chance of counter-attacking groundstrokes.

Nadal also used volleys and drop shots, forcing van de Zandschulp to make challenging trips towards the net, especially when he was behind the line.

The match was characterised by the Spaniard’s fiery energy and a quicker, efficient form of tennis that has served Nadal well in recent tournament successes.

Nadal, 2022 French Open, Tennis Channel Third-Round Interview

Looking ahead to his fourth-round match against Felix Auger-Aliassime, Nadal alluded to that “intensity”, stating – “I need to play at my 100%, and play as close as possible to my best level if I want to keep having chances in the tournament in general. So, excited to play that match – going to be a good test for me.”

What was the key that helped Alcaraz regroup from his Monte Carlo defeat and win against Korda in Paris? Would Djokovic and Nadal still have good chances of winning the Open in more physical five-set matches? Leave your comments below.

Alex Nulliah

My name is Alex Nulliah and I am a tennis writer from Bath. I enjoy writing about tennis, International Relations and anything else which takes my interest. At Exeter University I took a BA in History and an MA in Applied Security Strategy. I love playing tennis.

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9 Comments

  1. Solid performance from Alcaraz. There isn’t a point in the highlights above where he doesn’t fist pump after the rally, it won’t be long before players fist pump between shots. Even finding the strings will be deemed worthy of a come on.

    1. Funny Jonathan. It’s ok, he is still humble and doesn’t yell at his box or whine after losing or disagreeing with a call. He also apparently doesn’t choke under pressure which distinguishes him even from the big three in a way.

  2. I remember Roger saying, when you are on the court in the match, it’s like writing a final exam. You’ve done all the prep and studying, now it’s time to do what you’ve trained to do. NO help from anyone. You are on your own out there to figure it out. These days, the young players look to their box for support, reassurance, and comfort. And coaching.
    I wish they would play the match with that mentality. But then, there is only one Roger….

  3. Just to say that there is anew book out about Fed.Roger Federer The Twilight Years or something like that.

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