French Open 2021: A French hat-trick on the horizon for Aussie Alcott

Dylan Alcott has the chance to make history once again tonight (Photo - Tennis Australia)

Many on the international tennis circuit are used to Dylan Alcott winning Grand Slam titles. With 12 under his belt, including seven consecutive Australian Open titles, the Aussie is now primed to claim a fresh bit of history tonight at the French Open.

Having beaten constant challenger in American David Wagner 6-3 6-3, Alcott enters his third consecutive French Open quad wheelchair singles final. If he can overcome the up-and-coming Sam Schroder, then he will have won a hat-trick of French Open crowns, leaving him as still the only player to win a men’s quad wheelchair singles title at Paris since the event’s inception in 2019.

Now in the swansong of his career, Alcott has quickly carved out a tennis legacy. Ever since he stormed to his first Australian Open title and went on a scintillating run to the top of the quad wheelchair tennis world, he has been an inspiration for many across both Australia and the world. A third straight French Open crown tonight would further confirm his legacy as a superstar across various surfaces.

Alcott was his usual scintillating self in the first round, easily accounting for David Wagner (Photo – Tennis Australia)

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But the final will be an intriguing battle. On Australian shores, Alcott has looked close to unbeatable in storming to seven Aussie Open titles, but abroad he has found the most trouble from his challengers. Netherlands’ young Sam Schroder is by far the most potent of his opponents, having upset him in a three-set thriller at the 2020 US Open final.

Starting as a wildcard entry who soon elevated to the main group of best quad wheelchair players in the world, Schroder is perhaps Alcott’s greatest threat to Grand Slam titles in his final years at professional level.

Even in Alcott’s fortress of Melbourne Park, Schroder presented as the main threat to disrupting his streak and ending the Alcott legacy. With his opportunities to upset the Aussie dwindling by the tournament, Schroder has a golden chance to prove his worth tonight.

Alcott’s severely underrated French Open record began in 2019 when the tournament first introduced the quad wheelchair singles program to the two-week-long draw. In a topsy-turvy three-set final, Alcott held his mettle on serve in the final set to beat perennial bridesmaid David Wagner. Having beaten Schroder in the first round to atone for his fresh US Open final loss, Alcott made it two from two when he cruised past Great Britain’s Andy Lapthorne 6-2 6-2 in the 2020 instalment of the tournament.

The final looks likely to be a close-run contest, as Alcott’s strong striking power will be negated by the higher and slower bounce of France’s clay courts. What may set Alcott apart from his younger challenger is his serving, as his mixture of guile and spin on Roland Garros’ courts may prove too much to consistently return and force breaks of serve.

Sam Schroder will be looking to cause an upset rivalling his 2020 US Open triumph (Photo – International Paralympic Committee)

Alcott’s quest for a hattrick of French Open titles begins at 7 PM AEST, or 11 AM Paris time. Instead of the great surrounds of Court Philippe-Chatrier, Alcott and Schroder will do battle on court 12.

The Aussie superstar has already flagged this year as his final on tour, so it could prove to be a thrilling send-off from French shores for an astounding tennis player. If he can win once again, he’ll all but confirm his mastery at yet another Grand Slam.

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