NEW YORK – Teenager Carlos Alcaraz fended off a late push from veteran Argentine Federico Coria to emerge with a 6-2 6-1 7-5 win on Thursday to reach the US Open third round where he will face American Jenson Brooksby.
The young Spaniard used his all-court speed and punishing forehand to win the final 10 points of the first set and broke Coria’s serve to open the second to cruise to a 2-0 sets lead.
Coria refused to go down without a fight and pushed Alcaraz in a marathon game at 4-4 in the third set.
But the third seed, who saved 14 of the 15 break points he faced in the match, rifled two unreturnable serves to get out of trouble and sealed the win with a two-handed backhand for his 46th victory of the year.
“It’s been a great year for me but it’s not the end of the year,” Alcaraz said.
“I am very happy to be the player with the most victories but I have to look forward and go for it.”
Next up Alcaraz is a meeting with Brooksby who beat Cincinnati Open champion and 25th seed Borna Coric 6-4 7-6(10) 6-1 earlier in the day.
The Californian saved seven set points in the tense second set to reach the third round at Flushing Meadows for the second consecutive year. Last year, he took the first set off Novak Djokovic before falling to the tournament’s finalist.
“I was proud of my mental resolve to be able to save a lot of set points like that in a row and just stay in the present,” Brooksby told reporters.
“I was able to focus on what I have been working on, and to see that come through today is a great feeling.”
Brooksby’s emphatic shouts of “Come on!” got under Coric’s skin leading the Croatian to tell the chair umpire that while he respected the 21-year-old’s fight, “It’s a bit too much, it’s every point.”
Brooksby said he used Coric’s frustration to his advantage.
“That’s definitely a time if the opponent is frustrated, I can see this is the time to stay focused and stay on him and try to break him down,” he said.
“Whoever that is or whatever situation that is, it’s always a good thing to see.” REUTERS