PARIS: World No 1 Carlos Alcaraz bulldozed his way into the French Open quarterfinals with an awe-inspiring 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 crushing of Italian Lorenzo Musetti on Sunday.
The 20-year-old Spaniard, whose maiden run at Roland Garros ended in the last eight last year, next faces Stefanos Tsitsipas or Sebastian Ofner with a potential mouthwatering semi-final clash against Novak Djokovic looming.
On paper, Musetti had all the tools to unsettle Alcaraz – the touch, a superb backhand and a victory on clay in their only encounter. On court, however, the Italian had nothing to bother his opponent.
Alcaraz had way too much firepower and grit for the 17th seed, who also got tortured at the net on Court Philippe Chatrier.
“I had a high quality of shots, I played really aggressive and he played a complete match from the first point to the last so I’m happy to be through to the next round,” said Alcaraz, watched by his coach Juan Carlos Ferrero, who lifted the Musketeers Cup 20 years ago.
“I try not to think about being world No 1 or the pressure. All these thoughts, I keep them out of my mind. I just want to enjoy myself, entertain the crowd, and smile. This is the key to everything.”
Musetti won the first two games of the match but it was all downhill from there as he hit a brick wall, Alcaraz finding the best defence in all circumstances and relentlessly attacking when he saw the tightest opening.
The Spaniard bagged five games in a row and the first set quickly before getting a 2-0 advantage in the second, finding gravity-defying angles and showing his outstanding skills at the net.
Musetti fought back for 2-2 but that was not enough to unsettle Alcaraz, who peppered the court with winners including jaw-dropping shots over, or around, the net.
Alcaraz won four games in a row to take the second set and finished his demolition job in the third.