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Carlos Alcaraz cruises into fourth round

In a third-round U.S. Open clash between an attacker and a strategist, the attacker prevailed.

Carlos Alcaraz, the men’s third seed, tore through Jenson Brooksby in three straight sets at Arthur Ashe Stadium on Saturday afternoon, topping the unseeded American 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 to advance to the fourth round at Flushing Meadows. The 19-year-old Spaniard has still not lost a set in this tournament as he chases his first Grand Slam title.

With the win, Alcaraz, who has been called “the next Rafa Nadal,” became the youngest man to reach the fourth round of the Open in back-to-back years since Pete Sampras did it in 1989 and 1990. Alcaraz will face either Dan Evans of Britain or Marin Cilic of Croatia on Monday.

Alcaraz threw his body every which way for points, so much so that he appeared to blow out a pair of sneakers midway through the third set after repeatedly sliding all over.

“I know he’s a great athlete,” Brooksby said after the match. “He’ll get a lot of balls back. I just think most of my disappointment lies on my performance today.”

Carlos Alcaraz
Carlos Alcaraz
Ella Ling/Shutterstock

After trading off the first four games of the first set, Brooksby stumbled as Alcaraz tilted the court a bit. Alcaraz eventually stormed to a 5-2 lead and stood his ground as Brooksby attempted to outmaneuver his limber competitor — whose serve reached 133mph as he won all five of his service games. With 17 winners in comparison to Brooksby’s three, Alcaraz handily won the first set and repeated the effort over the final two.

Brooksby proved to be one of the best players on hard courts last summer, but the now 21-year-old has had a rocky season on other surfaces. Through the first week of this U.S. Open, however, Brooksby took convincing wins over Dusan Lajovic of Serbia and Borna Coric of Croatia to set up his meeting with Alcaraz.

In acknowledging he didn’t execute the major aspects of his game that he has been working on, Brooksby expressed frustration with his inability to rise to the challenge on such a stage. While Brooksby did think he competed as well as he could, the Sacramento, Calif., native pointed out he had too many lapses — especially in the third set, when he got the double break.

“I think it’s been a solid year,” Brooksby said. “I wouldn’t say it’s been a great year or bad year. A lot of building blocks, I think. Really, for success in terms of the rest of the year, it’s not really a ranking-based for me. I think it’s more of a process-based, and how well I can just mentally focus on what I need to work on every day type of thing. I think that would really show the results on the court.

“Obviously, I want to be able to get at least a title under my belt to start, and just consistently keep producing good results, which I know I’m capable of. But, yeah, I just have to get back to work now.”

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