This year’s Hamburg Open is headlined by the rising star of the men’s game, Alcaraz , seeded number one here. He faces unseeded wild card German Nikola Kuhn in Round one of the ATP500 event. I don’t know much about Nikola at all before this one except that he is ranked well into the 200s.But this is a Hamburg Open which was robbed of top German player Zverev through injury, so it’s a tournament primed for an unknown German player to step up. Tennis is a game of errors, the few the better obviously. Errors on the Alcaraz’s forehand were too much on critical points. 2-2 first set on the Kuhn racquet. The volley on the tail end of the point from Kuhn was not good, it allowed Alcaraz that opportunity at the forehand down the line. Instead the young Spaniard went through the ball instead of rotating the wrist to get enough spin. With a 64% first serve Kuhn was always going to require one service break to close out the set.

The serve and volley reminiscent of grass court tennis was a marvel to watch from Nikola, but only if he made the shots. Check out 1-0 Alcaraz second set. Kuhn didn’t know whether to volley or do the overhead smash, as a result no control over the shot. Carlito never looked back from that break of serve closing out the set 6-1. Without being overly critical on Nikola, he really needs to work on the shot after the serve. That serve is a potent weapon enough(3-0 Alcaraz advantage, kick serve for your eyes). Third set a lot more competitive than the second. Alcaraz brought in the money shots, so did Kuhn such as that on 5-5 first point. The passing shot with Alcaraz cutting off the court at the net was my highlight. The advantage of serving first in the breaker I cannot over emphasize. You have got to hold to get that psychological advantage over your opponent , nothing beats getting on the board first. Kuhn fell flat on this point in the third set breaker. From there there was no turning back. That is the way to close out the match from Alcaraz. 6-3 in the breaker , find the corners to open the court , a little slip from Kuhn creating a gap on the ad side of the court. Carlos faced Krajinovic of Serbia in Round 2.