Barcelona, Spain — Carlos AlcarazThe world’s biggest fans flocked to see the world’s best new player on his return to Spain.
Instead, they witnessed Felix Auger Eliassim He beat their new star before staying on the hard court to claim a second victory in the doubles and help Canada secure a 2-1 victory over Spain in the Davis Cup group stage on Friday.
Alcaraz lost 6-7 (3), 6-4, 6-2 to the superb Auger-Alessem, who endured the partisan crowd and hoped the match in Valencia en route after the 19-year-old Spaniard dug deep to achieve the first. Tie-breaking group.
“Felix is a monster. Physically and mentally, Felix is one of the best players in the world,” Alcaraz said after his first game since winning the US Open last week to become the youngest player to rise to the top of the ATP rankings.
He added, “I did not come in good physical shape. It was a very difficult day, but I have to congratulate him because he played a great match.”
When the wing was roaring for Alcaraz, Auger-Aliassime responded coldly by surgically placing shot after shot exactly where he wanted it. He controlled his serve with 16 aces and eventually broke Alcaraz in the second set and twice in the third.
“He’s the No. 1 in the world and he is very credited for that, but today I think I was a little bit better in the third set. I wouldn’t let it happen. My team takes down my fighting spirit,” said 13th seed Auger-Aliassime.
The next Canada will play Serbia on Saturday, while Spain will face South Korea on Sunday to determine which of them will qualify for the quarter-finals in November in the southern Spanish city of Malaga.
Spain beat Serbia 3-0 on Wednesday while Alcaraz was resting after returning from New York as he won his first Grand Slam title on Sunday after an grueling streak that included three straight five-set wins.
Before the Davis Cup game, Alcaraz was busy signing autographs and taking photos after practice. It received the biggest applause when Team Spain was introduced and was presented as “New World No. 1”.
After the match, he focused not on the loss, but on the joy he got from coming home.
“I wanted to come back to Spain, I mean to share this moment to be #1 and be the US Open champion with all my people,” Alcaraz said.
After Spanish fans had to stay up practically all night to watch his US Open matches due to the time difference, it was the first opportunity many of his supporters had to watch him play at home since May when he won the Madrid Open. The Caraz won Rafael NadalAnd the Novak Djokovic And the Alexander Zverev In the capital, in what many considered Nadal transferred the torch to his Spanish successor.
Red and yellow flags were draped on the balustrade in the pavilion, including one named after Alcaraz’s home region, Murcia, drawn in large black letters. Valencia is located on the Mediterranean coast, about two and a half hours north of El Palmar, the birthplace of Alcaraz, and has a population of 24,000.
Alcaraz had only one previous encounter with Auger-Alessem, in the 2021 US Open quarter-finals when the Spaniard was forced to retire due to injury.
While Alcaraz arrived after two weeks of tiredness in the United States, Auger-Aliassime played singles and doubles on Tuesday to help Canada beat South Korea in their Davis Cup opener.
Unable to touch Auger-Aliassime’s serve, Alcaraz summoned more cheers from the stands, which included his parents. He pumped his fist towards Captain Sergi Brugueira and his personal trainer Juan Carlos Ferrero After the hard-earned points.
That proved enough for Alcaraz to seal the first set tiebreak after Auger-Aliassime’s surprise errors.
But Auger-Aliassime did not lose the lead. Captain Canada Frank Dancivic He jumped from his seat on the field to cheer when Auger-Aliassime finally broke Alcaraz late in the second set. The Canadian poured it on him.
Also on Friday, the Netherlands advanced after hitting Britain’s Andy MurrayBritain 2-1 in Glasgow, Scotland. The result also meant that the United States had advanced from Group D.
Germany and Australia advanced from Group C after Germany beat Belgium 2-1, while Italy defeated Argentina 2-1 in Bologna in Group A.