Carlos Alcaraz recorded the biggest win of his career on Wednesday, when he upset top seed David Goffin 6-3, 6-3 at the Great Ocean Road Open in Melbourne.
The 2020 Newcomer of the Year saved six of seven break points and won 75 per cent of second-serve return points to overcome the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals runner up in 73 minutes. This is Alcaraz’s first win against a Top 15 player. The 17-year-old entered the contest with only three previous matches against Top 100 opposition (3-0).
“It was a very good match,” said Alcaraz. “I always want to play these kind of matches against great players like Goffin. I’m very happy with this win today and looking forward to the next round.”
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Alcaraz improves to 5-0 at all levels this year. Last month, the #NextGenATP Spaniard dropped just one set in three matches to qualify for his maiden Grand Slam main draw at the Australian Open.
“He just killed me, so I would say he’s good… He had nothing to lose today. He qualified for his first Grand Slam. He’s under 18. He’s hitting the ball unbelievable,” said Goffin. “I don’t know if he’s playing like tonight every day, every match, but it was a huge performance tonight. He didn’t let me play.”
Alcaraz’s win acts as another checkpoint in the Murcia native’s rapid rise on the ATP Tour. The 6’1” right-hander claimed three ATP Challenger Tour titles and rose more than 350 positions in the FedEx ATP Rankings last year to reach a career-high No. 136 on 19 October.
Alcaraz will meet Thiago Monteiro for a place in the quarter-finals in Melbourne. The Brazilian recovered from a set down to defeat Matthew Ebden 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-3.
Second seed Karen Khachanov began his 2021 season with a 7-6(5), 6-3 win against Max Purcell. The four-time ATP Tour titlist landed 11 aces and saved all four break points he faced to set up a blockbuster third-round clash against two-time Grand Slam runner-up Kevin Anderson.
Anderson claimed his place in the third round with a 57-minute 6-4, 6-2 win against Cedrik-Marcel Stebe. The South African dropped just four points behind his first serve (27/31) to book a second ATP Head2Head clash against Khachanov. Anderson rallied from a set down to win his only previous match against the Russian 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 at the 2018 Miami Open presented by Itau.
Reilly Opelka also started his Great Ocean Road Open campaign with a win. The sixth seed beat Sergiy Stakhovsky 7-6(8), 6-4 in 82 minutes. Opelka saved one set point at 7/8 in the first-set tie-break and fired 17 aces to earn his first win of the year.