April 18, 2024

Misha Battles Alcaraz for Career Victory! Kecmanović Faces Hurdles at Rod Laver Arena! These are the Preconditions for the Serbian’s Triumph!

3 min read

Miša’s second appearance in Melbourne at this level (2022) is his only previous encounter with Carlos, which was in the quarter-finals of the Miami Masters in the same year. The match was decided by two tie-breaks and three sets, with the 18-year-old Spaniard emerging as the winner. If Carlos is successful in today’s match, he would join Nadal as the only active players to have reached the quarter-finals of seven or more Grand Slam tournaments (Nadal – 47). On the other hand, Miša is on the verge of becoming the second Serbian player, alongside Novak, to reach the quarter-finals in Melbourne (Novak – 14 times).

Miša has the opportunity to defeat a top 5 ATP player for the first time, after experiencing 8 losses against such players. The highest-ranked player Miša has beaten in a Slam is Tommy Paul in the previous round (14th seed), and he has also defeated Zverev, Berrettini, and Rune when they were ranked 6th in other tournaments, all on hard courts. The Australian Open has been the least successful Slam for Alcaraz, and in his third appearance in Melbourne and 12th Grand Slam overall, he aims to reach the top eight for the first time. However, his previous two appearances were not impressive – in 2021, he lost to Mikael Ymer, and in 2022, he was eliminated in the third round by Berrettini. He missed last year’s tournament due to a right leg injury. Alcaraz, the third youngest Wimbledon champion at the age of 20 years and 72 days, is in good form this year and will strive to become the youngest winner of the Norman Brooks Challenge Cup since Novak in 2008 (20 years, 250 days), and the third player in history to win 3 Slams before turning 21 (after Vilas – 4 titles, and Borg – 3). Kecmanović will aim to reach the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam for the first time in his sixth appearance in Melbourne and 20th in Slams. With tonight’s success, he would become only the third Serbian player to achieve this feat in Melbourne, following Novak’s 14 appearances and one by Boba Živojinović in 1985, who defeated McEnroe. It is the second time that Miša has reached the fourth round, making this his favorite Grand Slam.

If Miša believes in himself, manages to shake off the tension of a big match and the pressure, and therefore frees himself both physically and mentally to compete against Alcaraz – learning valuable lessons from his tough victories over Struff and Paul – we will surely witness a great match that could become unpredictable if it goes to a fourth set. Alcaraz isn’t shining at the beginning of the season as he is still getting into the competitive rhythm. He did not perform at the level seen at the French Open, Wimbledon, or the US Open during his first tournament of the year. To tame Alcaraz’s serve and match it with Miša’s precise initial shots, minimize unforced errors, be prepared for all movement directions, and probably outsmart with shots to all corners of the court (including drop shots and penetrating lines and diagonals) and to believe in himself and his chances until the last moment, will be prerequisites for Miša to bring impatience, uncertainty, and discomfort to Alcaraz on the court. It is certainly not impossible, but it will take time – as well as Miša’s effort to start the match strong.

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