Tennis results can get especially wild during the fall swing. It can also be difficult to sustain success when you are at a career-high ranking with a bullseye on your back.
Carlos Alcaraz and Casper Ruud found out both of those things the hard way at their respective tournaments on Tuesday. Alcaraz, the world No. 1 and top seed at the Astana Open, lost in the first round to David Goffin 7-5, 6-3; Ruud, the world No. 2 and top seed at the Japan Open, lost his opening-round contest against Jaume Munar 6-3, 6-3.
Goffin needed a lucky-loser spot just to get into the main draw after failing to get out of qualifying. Now the veteran Belgian suddenly finds himself in round two of this 500 event with a win over the reigning U.S. Open champion.
“I always believe that I have the level to cause some trouble against those guys,” Goffin explained. “Of course it has not been my best period; I haven’t been playing really well in the past few tournaments. But I always believe and practice and you never know. When you play against the world No. 1 on a big stage, big crowd, the fire inside gives you so much power to play your best tennis because you don’t have any choice. You have to fight and give your best and that was the case today.”
Munar had been 1-12 lifetime against top-10 players, his lone victory coming at the expense of world No. 3 Alexander Zverev on the red clay of Marrakech in 2019.
“I think it’s one of the best (wins of my career),” Munar said. “Casper is a great player. We all know that maybe this is not his best surface–not even mine. But I managed to play the tennis I needed to play today. I think it wasn’t a great match, but from my side I did what I needed to do. (I’m) very happy to be through. Casper is one of the best players in the world right now.”
Seeds Nick Kyrgios, Dan Evans, and Borna Coric were among those who advanced in Tokyo.
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