Missed a sensation: tennis pro Jan-Lennard Struff won a set against Carlos Alcaraz at the ATP tournament in Madrid and kept up well, but had to admit defeat in the end.
Struff lost to the 20-year-old Spaniard 4: 6, 6: 3, 3: 6 in a high-class final on Sunday (May 7th, 2023). “It was a great two weeks for me,” said Struff to the warm applause of the Spanish fans, who took him to their hearts during the tournament: “It was great to get a second chance here. Thanks for the support everyone !”
Struff was actually eliminated in the qualification, but moved into the main field as a lucky loser. There he fought as a blatant outsider to the final. With an energetic serve and volley, Struff also brought Alcaraz to the brink of despair at times in the first Masters final of his career, but the Spaniard had more staying power.
Alcaraz stronger at first, but Struff holds back
At the beginning, Struff noticed the nervousness in the most important game of his career so far. But his service game with serve-and-volley worked better after two lost games. Alcaraz revealed mistakes on the forehand side. This is how the Warsteiner managed the break – compensation.
The Spaniard was increasingly annoyed by the German, who boldly went to the net and tested Alcaraz’s forehand. After another break from Alcaraz, momentum was back on the Spaniard’s side, who pulled away and took the first set.
Struff confirms break and takes set two
In the second set, there were always ways to get the Spaniard into uncomfortable return situations. So he took the serve from Alcaraz early on – and confirmed the break.
The Spanish super talent fought back, but Struff countered with clever shots, surprising Alcaraz again and again. The previously unusually weak service game got better, and he finally managed an ace. So the sentence balance was logical.
Mistakes are increasing: Struff serve unusually weak
In the deciding set, things initially continued at eye level. Struff looked at Alcaraz cleverly at times. Because he himself was not completely error-free and some returns ended up just wide, he just missed the break.
Afterwards, however, Struff’s problems on the serve and errors on the return prevented the Warsteiner from being able to further distress Alcaraz. As a result, Alcaraz played mercilessly precisely. And ultimately earned the win in Madrid with the first match point after 2:27 hours.
Struff in 28th place in the world rankings from Monday
Struff is now moving up to world number 28 and is thus higher than ever in his career. He will not play the qualifiers in Rome (Monday) and will take a few days off, as his manager told “Tennismagazin”. It is unlikely that he will still be in the main field in the Italian capital, the wildcards have already been taken.
The next highlight will follow at the end of the month: At the French Open in Paris (from May 28th) Struff can count on chances. The Davis Cup player will be one of the 32 seeds, avoiding the top stars in the early rounds.
National tennis coach Michael Kohlmann has a lot of confidence in his protégé even at the high point of the clay court season in the French capital. “Jan-Lennard has a great position, many wins and a lot of self-confidence,” said the Kohlmann, but also warned: “Madrid is at 700 meters and is therefore much faster than other clay court tournaments. That suits him. But they are also in Roland Garros Clay courts fast.”