In a performance that former UK number one Tim Henman called an “absolute clinic”, Alcaras defeated American Sebastian Cordy 6-4 6-4 6-2.
The 21-year-old Corda is expected to star in the men’s tour for years to come, and just last month he defeated Alcaraz on the ground in Monte Carlo.
This time, he found the 19-year-old Spaniard Alcaraz too hot to handle him on the surface, and the world’s fast-growing No. 6 showcased a form that earned him four championship titles in the 2022 ATP Tour.
The tournament organizers gave the Parisian crowds a glimpse into the future, giving Cordo and Alcaraz hot tickets for the night session. They are both becoming more of a factor today, and Alcaras is considered a strong contender for the title in those two weeks.
The victory made him the youngest man to reach the fourth round of the French Open after Novak Djokovic in 2006, according to ATP. Having won titles in Barcelona and Madrid, Alcaras has a 13-match winning streak.
This time it took him two hours and six minutes to get the job done, flashing 18 winning passes past his opponent, son Peter Corda, who finished 2nd at Roland Garros.
“It’s amazing to play in front of such a large audience, a great atmosphere here at Philip Shatrie,” Alcaras said. “I think the night session is fun to play, everyone liked the match and I am grateful to play in front of such a good audience.
“Of course, in the first matches I try to have fun. I love playing on such a tennis court. I love playing in France. I enjoy every second.”
The Alcaras pool surprised many by revealing a number of volley points, and showed that it was on the orders of coach Juan Carlos Ferrer.
He also showed how Ferrero, who was briefly number one in the world and won the 2003 French Open in the men’s championship, remained in excellent results on the training courts at the age of 42.
“I think not so long ago, a couple of months ago or a year ago, he beat me in a training set,” Alcaras said. “He’s in good shape and now he could beat a lot of players in the training set.”
Henman, analyzing the match for Eurosport, said Alcaras was a complete package. It was a performance that suggested that Alcaraz’s five-set fight against Alberto Ramas-Vinolas in the second round was brilliant.
“I thought his performance was absolutely incredible,” said former world number four Henman. “Korda may not have played as well as he would have liked, but he was not allowed to play because of Alcaras’ pure quality in every area.
“All due respect to Alcaras, it was an absolute clinic.”
Henman said the guy turned “defense into attack in the blink of an eye”, adding: “I think he came in anticipation of a really tough match and he destroyed Cord.”
Alcaras reached the third round during his last year’s debut at Roland Garros, and now he has gone a step further, next to him is the Russian Karen Khachanov.
The great Swede Mats Wilander, who won the French Open three times in the 1980s, said Alcaras was “very similar to Novak Djokovic” in the backhand.
“I’m not very sure about the forehand, I can’t explain it,” Wilander said, “because the speed of his hand and when he decides to go full… when he goes full, it’s unbelievable when the ball hits the clay and bounces.”