Watch: Carlos Alcaraz practices with his ‘favorite’ rival


World no. 2 Carlos Alcaraz will make his Rome Masters debut on Saturday against Albert Ramos-Vinolas. Carlos has been practicing in Rome since Thursday, getting used to the conditions and preparing to chase his fifth Masters 1000 crown, the third of the season. Alcaraz trained with Stefanos Tsitsipas on Friday, with two rivals sharing the same half of the draw and hoping to meet in the semi-final. The Spaniard is the favorite in Rome after defending his Madrid Masters title, and the Greek will try to find the improvements and challenge the young gun. Alcaraz has won all four matches against Tsitsipas, including the recent Barcelona Open title clash. Carlos and Stefanos kicked off their rivalry with the 2021 US Open thriller.

Carlos Alcaraz and Stefanos Tsitsipas trained together at Foro Italico.

The Spaniard prevailed 6-3, 4-6, 7-6, 0-6, 7-6 after over four hours, overcoming a bagel in the fourth set and moving over the top in the deciding tie break. The Spaniard played better in the crucial points at the last year’s Miami Masters. He fended off seven out of eight break points in a 7-5, 6-3 win in an hour and 50 minutes. They met a few weeks later in the Barcelona Open quarter-final, and Carlos scored a 6-4, 5-7, 6-2 triumph after overpowering the rival in the decider. Stefanos did not act nicely in the opening set’s closing stages, and there were tensions until the end. Alcaraz and Tsitsipas were the rivals in Barcelona this year, too, entering as the top seeds and reaching the title clash.

The Spaniard scored a convincing 6-3, 6-4 triumph in an hour and 18 minutes for his ninth ATP title and the last as a teenager. Alcaraz produced another fantastic performance to lift his third title of the season. The Spaniard fired 26 winners and seven unforced errors, dominating with his initial shot and dropping ten points in ten service games. Tsitsipas broke once in the early stages and needed more to remain in contention. The Greek struggled on the second serve and got broken three times from six opportunities offered to his rival to lose his third Barcelona Open final! Carlos settled into a fine rhythm after an early setback and kept the pressure on the other side. He broke his rival at 2-2 in the second set and landed a forehand winner at 5-4 to lift the trophy and remain perfect against Stefanos.

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