NEW YORK — Ever since Carlos Alcaraz was 12 or so — OK, not forever ago, considering he’s still just 20 — he made sure variety was a key element of his game.
Back then, he explained, there were so many options at his disposal that he might encounter a bit of trouble figuring out which to employ. And, he acknowledged, that can even be the case to this day.
Alcaraz was by no means perfect during a 6-2, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 victory over the 26th-seeded Dan Evans in the U.S. Open’s third round on Saturday — there was that wayward set, after all — but the defending champion produced enough moments of brilliance to keep himself smiling and his many fans in New York roaring in approval.
To hear the No. 1-seeded Alcaraz explain it, “a lot of different” possibilities enter his mind in the midst of a point — “the dropshot, big forehand, go to the net, multiple things” — before he selects which stroke to try. It can make things “difficult” on occasion, he said.
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“Most of the time, I find the right one,” the Spaniard said, “but sometimes I struggle to hit good shots because of that.”