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Tennis-Alcaraz overcomes Muller despite error-strewn performance

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By Clare Lovell

LONDON (Reuters) -Top seed Carlos Alcaraz produced an entertaining mixture of power hitting, fearsome returning and delicate dropshots to beat France’s Alexandre Muller 6-4 7-6(2) 6-3 and reach the third round at Wimbledon on Friday.

But he made 41 unforced errors and did not have it all his own way against an obstinate opponent, who clearly enjoyed his first outing on the big stage and went toe-to-toe with the Spaniard for much of the match.

The 26-year-old Muller, ranked 84th, has spent most of his professional career on the second-tier challenger circuit. He came up with some delightful shots of his own, particularly on the backhand but, in the end the smiling top seed’s all-round game was just too strong for him.

At key moments U.S. Open champion Alcaraz produced backhands that swerved round the net post, lobs that puffed the baseline chalk, and unreturnable serves that reached 130 miles an hour.

After breaking serve in the seventh game, Alcaraz won the first set on his fourth set point with a big serve the Frenchman could not deal with.

He raced into a 6-0 lead in the second-set tiebreak before conceding a couple of points, then wrapping up the set with an exquisite half-volley dropshot.

Alcaraz, who made it to the fourth round at Wimbledon last year, used a searing passing shot to break serve in the ninth game of the final set and wrapped up the match on his own serve with a forehand winner.

He said his ambition was always to entertain the crowd and make sure they loved watching his matches and he is enjoying playing on grass after winning the Queen’s warm-up tournament last month.

“I’m getting more experience and getting better every game,” Alcaraz said in an on-court interview.

“Wimbledon is different to other tournament,” he said. “I want to enjoy every single second – and I did.”

(Reporting by Clare Lovell, editing by Ed Osmond)

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