Carlos Alcaraz survives match point to beat Ramos-Vinolas in marathon match Photograph:( AFP )
Alcaraz is now unbeaten for 12 straight matches after bagging back-to-back titles in Barcelona and Madrid going into Roland Garros.
Sixth seed Carlos Alcaraz clawed back from the brink of a shock second-round defeat at the French Open on Wednesday to outlast fellow Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas in a five-set marathon that fully tested his title credentials. The 19-year-old, who has taken the tennis world by storm this year, survived a match point in the fourth set before working his way back to win 6-1 6-7(7) 5-7 7-6(2) 6-4 in a match lasting over four hours and a half hours.
Alcaraz is now unbeaten for 12 straight matches after bagging back-to-back titles in Barcelona and Madrid going into Roland Garros. "I feel tired but I mean it was a great battle against a great player," he said. "I knew it would be a top match. We fought until the last point. I am so happy with the performance today.
"I had my chances if I saved that match point. The tiebreak I was aggressive. In the fifth set I was fresh. I was like the beginning of the match. That match point changed everything."
Alcaraz, who has enjoyed a meteoric rise in the past 12 months, had looked unflustered by the blustery conditions on the Simonne Mathieu Court with a near flawless performance in the first set. The 34-year-old Ramos-Vinolas, a clay court specialist and quarter-finalist in Paris six years ago, had no response to Alcaraz`s explosive power and accuracy.
The teenager`s serve proved equally devastating as he gave away just three points in his service games in the first set. His veteran opponent, however, was far from done, putting up a stronger fight as unforced errors started creeping into Alcaraz`s game, including a forehand that sailed wide on Ramos-Vinolas`s set point.
With his opponent now clearly unsettled, having lost his earlier momentum and composure, Ramos-Vinolas moved Alcaraz around and broke him to go 2-1 up in the third set. Alcaraz was paying the price for his unforced errors and his 44th, a simple volley into the net, handed Ramos-Vinolas a break to go 6-5 up and he held serve to lead 2-1.
Facing the prospect of a shock exit, Alcaraz survived a match point at 5-4 before forcing a fifth set.
He again had to work his way back from 0-3 to level before finishing Ramos-Vinolas off with an ace on his first match point.