Brad Gilbert, former World No. 4 and coach to tennis greats such as Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick and Andy Murray, has praised 20-year-old Carlos Alcaraz for his improved guile and variety in his game. Alcaraz has dominated in the Roland Garros tournament, beating three seeded opponents to reach the semi-finals where he will face Novak Djokovic. Gilbert notes that Alcaraz’s mental edge against Djokovic is his lack of skeletons, having only played him once before and winning the tournament. Gilbert gives Djokovic a slight edge in the semi-final, but notes that Alcaraz’s power and spin give him more options in blustery conditions.
Carlos Alcaraz has been making waves at Roland Garros with his impressive performances against seeded opponents, and former World No. 4 Brad Gilbert has taken notice. While Alcaraz’s power is certainly impressive, Gilbert notes that it’s his increased guile and variety that have stood out this year.
After defeating Denis Shapovalov, Lorenzo Musetti, and Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets, Alcaraz faces his toughest test yet in Novak Djokovic. Gilbert acknowledges that the shift from opponents with one-handed backhands to Djokovic’s steady two-hander presents a challenge, but he also notes one mental edge that Alcaraz has over his three previous opponents.
“So many of these young guys, they come in with a lot of skeletons, facing Djoker. He doesn’t,” Gilbert said. “He just played him that one time [last year in Madrid], got through it, and then amazingly, won the tournament.”
Gilbert doesn’t put too much stock in Alcaraz’s win over Djokovic from last year, given the different playing conditions. However, he still gives Djokovic a slight edge in the upcoming semi-final match. Using his customary American football analogy, Gilbert handicaps Djokovic as a half-point favorite, potentially rising to 1.5 points if wind is not a factor on Friday.
“Just off of his amazing ability in best-of-five,” Gilbert said, explaining why he gives Djokovic the slight edge. Djokovic’s ability to play in “lockdown mode” has been on full display this tournament, as he’s won all five tie-breaks he’s played without a single unforced error.
Despite the odds, Alcaraz has shown that he’s a force to be reckoned with on the clay courts of Roland Garros. His increased variety and spin give him more options, especially in blustery conditions. So, while Djokovic may be the favorite, Alcaraz has the potential to pull off an upset.
Predictions for the Roland Garros Semi-Final
Who will advance to the Roland Garros final? Here are the options:
Only time will tell who will come out on top in this highly anticipated match-up. Will Djokovic continue his dominant run, or will Alcaraz pull off the upset of the tournament? Tennis fans will be eagerly watching to find out.