Carlos Alcaraz arrived at the Australian Open with plenty of questions hovering around him, but he has already provided plenty of answers.
Alcaraz rated his performance against Miomir Kecmanovic as almost perfect, as the No 2 seed hit 43 winners in a clinical 6-4 6-4 6-0 victory on Rod Laver Arena.
If he can maintain the same level through the next six days, he will fancy his chances of possibly beating another Serbian on the same court on Sunday.
Alcaraz missed last year’s tournament with a leg injury but has dropped only one set so far on his way through to a first quarter-final in Melbourne.
Asked what worked well, the second seed said with a grin: “I think everything. I did everything almost perfectly.
“I pushed him to the limit in every ball, in every point. Obviously, he has played a lot of matches in five sets, a lot of tough matches, so probably physically he was not at his 100 per cent.
“I’m feeling better and better every day. Every match I’ve played here in Rod Laver I’ve been feeling more comfortable.”
Alcaraz’s blend of explosive hitting was mixed with some brilliant executed drop shots, as the dangerous Kecmanovic was diluted in impressive fashion by a player who believes there arre similarities to his Wimbledon success last summer.
When the Spaniard youngster arrived in London to play at Queen’s Club last June, he admitted he was struggling to find his feet on grass courts.
Having grown up on clay courts in Spain, that was hardly surprising, but he managed to win at Queen’s and backed that up by a sensational win against Djokovic in the Wimbledon final.
Now Alcaraz has suggested he is feeling similar emotions as he embarks on his first extended run at the Australian Open.
He was asked whether his momentum in Melbourne reminds him of his run at Wimbledon last summer and offered up this response: “Probably. Could be. Honestly, well, as you say, grass and hardcourt are totally different.
“Probably the process could be similar. A court that I didn’t play so much here in Rod Laver, I didn’t play so much as well. Probably the process could be the same or similar.
“All I can say, yeah, is I’m feeling. I didn’t think about it, but could be the same. Every match that I’m playing, I’m feeling better and better on a court I didn’t play so much, as I said. Hopefully the same as Wimbledon. Yeah, could be the same.
“Obviously it’s great to find this level, to play this level in the matches. I mean, as I said on the court, I’m feeling better and better every day. I’m feeling better and better every match that I’m playing. Coming into the quarterfinal with a lot of confidence.
“I will try to take this as an advantage, the confidence that I have and the level that I’m playing. But hopefully in the quarterfinals against Sascha, will play a better match than today.”
The power of Alcaraz’s forehand against Kecmanovic revived memories of the form he was in on grass last summer, with with those fireworks needing to continue if he is to get past Alexander Zverev in the quarter-finals.
“He is a really great player. He has beaten great guys here in this tournament. Obviously I love playing against him,” added Alcaraz of Zverev.
“It’s always a tough battle. I have to play at my best level. He push me to play my 100% every time.
“The last time we face each other, I lost. So I have to be focused on that. I have to improve my level from that match. I’m going to enjoy it. I’m going to enjoy that match. I think for the crowd it’s going to be a great match, as well.”