Carlos Alcaraz against Stefanos Tsitsipas is “the clash we’ve all been waiting for” at this year’s French Open with the latter saying that Alcaraz is “one biggest obstacles and challenges for any player to compete against”.
The pair produced impressive fourth-round displays on Sunday as top seed Alcaraz defeated Lorenzo Musetti 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 to move into the last eight before Tsitsipas joined him there as he brushed aside Austrian qualifier Sebastian Ofner 7-5, 6-3, 6-0.
They will meet for the fifth time in top-level tennis on Tuesday and the Greek is yet to taste victory against Alcaraz with the Spaniard winning their encounters in Barcelona (2023 and 2022), Miami (2022) and the US Open (2021).
Tsitsipas acknowledges that facing the world No 1 is one of the toughest jobs in tennis at the moment.
“The clash we’ve been all waiting for. I think everyone was expecting it, weren’t they? It’s here. It’s game on,” the fifth seed said.
“I need to play good tennis. Carlos is someone that keeps the intensity high at all times. He’s someone that is not going to give you gaps where his attention is not there. He’s very energetic, and you can see that on the court.
“He adds a lot of that into the rallies, into his rituals when he is out there playing the game. He has a lot of that when he plays. I think it has helped him a lot.
“He has that smile that he said obviously helps him a lot. Right now he’s one of the biggest obstacles and challenges for any player to compete against. It pushes us all to be better.”
Alcaraz returned to No 1 in the ATP Rankings ahead of the French Open and he will keep top spot if he wins the tournament although there are other permutations in play.
Asked if he is feeling extra pressure due to the No 1 ranking, the 20-year-old replied: “I try not to think about the No. 1 [spot], the pressure, [whether] I am one of the main favourites to win the tournament. I try to put all those thoughts outside my mind.
“I just try to play tennis, to enjoy, and try to smile all the time. This is the key for everything for me, trying to enjoy, trying to make impossible shots, trying to make the people enjoy watching the tennis. This is all I think about during the match.”
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