OREANDA-NEWS The main sensation of the first two days of the Rolex Paris Masters, held in the French capital of the Masters 1000 tournament of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) with a prize fund of €5.8 million, was the victory of Russian Roman Safiullin over the current Wimbledon champion Carlos Alcaraz, who takes second place in the world classification. For the first time in his life, having defeated such a titled opponent, Safiullin, among other things, unwittingly intervened in the fight for the title of the first racket of the world, which Alcaraz leads with Novak Djokovic. Now the already high chances of the 36-year-old Serb to keep the lead until the end of the season and start his 400th week at the head of the rating on November 20 have increased even more.

The outcome of this match from the very beginning was not as obvious as many fans of the talent of Carlos Alcaraz would like. Arriving in Paris for the last Masters of the season after a foot injury and not fully recovering from it, the Spaniard immediately ran into Roman Safiullin, who has never played so well in his life as in recent months. In July, he reached the quarterfinals of Wimbledon, won by Alcaraz, in September, in his first final at the ATP tournaments in Chengdu, China, he almost defeated Alexander Zverev from Germany, and a week later he took a convincing revenge from this German tennis player, who at that time ranked tenth in the world ranking, giving only four games. Until recently, Safiullin could only dream of such results, although his playing style makes an even stronger impression. The Russian's tennis is characterized by total aggression, mixed up with a powerful serve and a wonderful forehand. Of course, it is possible to resist such hurricane attacks, but first Safiullin's opponent must shake his self-confidence. You can do this only at the expense of your own stability, and just Alcaraz lacked it in Paris. In his first match in European halls since November last year, he was not ready to face an opponent who was at his peak.

The events in this meeting developed quite quickly. Having lost his serve in the third game, Safiullin immediately returned it, and then in an equal and stubborn struggle in the eighth game he made another break. He managed to complete the first game in the ninth game with an impeccable exit to the net at the score of 30:15, and then with a clear shot in the opposite direction. Alcaraz's problems in the first set were most clearly demonstrated by the ratio of actively won points and unforced errors — 3:13. But Safiullin, of course, was still far from winning. After the fourth game of the second game, Alcaraz, who fought with all his might, went into a small gap — 3:1.