Tennis: Alcaraz saves match point in French Open survival epic

Spain's Carlos Alcaraz reacts during his match against compatriot Albert Ramos-Vinolas. PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - Teenage sensation Carlos Alcaraz saved a match point and came back from 3-0 down in the final set to defeat Spanish compatriot Albert Ramos-Vinolas and make the French Open third round on Wednesday (May 25).

The 19-year-old sixth seed, widely tipped to break the Grand Slam stranglehold of Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, triumphed 6-1, 6-7 (7/9), 5-7, 7-6 (7/2), 6-4 in a four-hour 34-minute epic.

Alcaraz, bidding to become only the eighth teenager to win a Grand Slam men's title, hit a matching 74 winners and 74 unforced errors on Court Simonne-Mathieu.

The 34-year-old Ramos-Vinolas, ranked 44 and who made the quarter-finals in 2017, saved 23 of 31 break points before the flamboyant Alcaraz called on his deepest reserves and spectacular shot-making ability to win.

"I feel tired," said Alcaraz. "It was a great battle, a great match and we fought until the last point." "I feel like I'm playing at home. It wouldn't be possible if the fans didn't support me." Alcaraz saved a match point in the 10th game of the fourth set and was soon 3-0 down in the decider.

He pocketed the next four games only for the valiant Ramos-Vinolas to level at 4-4.

However, the 15-year age difference, combined with Alcaraz's never-say-die scrambling, allowed the teenager to break again for 5-4.

Cramping, Ramos-Vinolas was soon three match points down and Alcaraz claimed victory with his 10th ace.

He goes on to face either Richard Gasquet or Sebastian Korda for a place in the last 16.

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