Carlos Alcaraz does not plan on dwelling too much on his three-set defeat to Grigor Dimitrov in the Round of 16 at the Rolex Shanghai Masters. Instead, the Spaniard is eager to return to the practice court after tallying a 5-2 record during the Asian Swing.
“I always say that you can improve more from the defeats than the wins. After this trip, I took a lot of lessons to improve, to be better,” Alcaraz said in his press conference. “As I said in Beijing, I have to work on a few things to beat the best guys and after this loss, it [happened] not too much time ago, so I have to think about it. But I will take a lot of lessons to improve in practice before the tournaments that I have ahead.
“I think I’m playing great tennis. Even if I didn’t make the quarter-finals [in Shanghai] or lost in the semi-finals [in Beijing], I think I’m playing great tennis. So I have to practice at my 100 per cent in the weeks before Basel. That is the next tournament for me, so I’ll try to make my best in that tournament.”
The No. 2 player in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings appeared in good position to battle through against the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals champion after winning the first set. But Dimitrov maintained his level and Alcaraz was never able to find the answers he so often does to turn the momentum back in his favor.
“Probably I had to start the second set better. I think I made a few mistakes in the first game that I shouldn’t do. That is the truth,” Alcaraz said. “It was a little bit of a surprise for me as well, the way that he started the second set after let’s say a tough first set for him.
“He didn’t make up and downs in his game after a really good first set. He started really well the second set, and kept that level, that intensity during the second set and the third set. He didn’t let me put my game on the match. I was all the time fighting to find a way to put the match on my own game, but I couldn’t. And I think that was the key of the match.”
Although Alcaraz lamented a missed opportunity in Asia to make up ground on Novak Djokovic in the battle for ATP Year-End No. 1 presented by Pepperstone, he made sure to credit Dimitrov for his performance to earn his first win in their Lexus ATP Head2Head series.
“I think he played great. He played a great match since the beginning until the last ball. No up and downs in his game,” Alcaraz said. “Comparing to the matches that we’ve played before, he was on another level today. So congratulations to him and I have to be better if I want to beat this Grigor.”