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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Friday January 21, 2022

It didn’t go his way on Friday night against Matteo Berrettini at the Australian Open, but don’t worry about Carlos Alcaraz. The 18-year-old is proud of his effort and feeling good about his future despite the loss.

“I'm very proud of the performance today,” he said after nearly engineering a comeback from two sets down against Berrettini. “I mean, was my first time two sets down, and then be able to come back like the way I did. I mean, I gave everything on the court, so that's the thing that I want to do, give everything on the court and I'm very proud the way that I did.”

The Spaniard was edged in a fifth-set breaker against the No.7 seed, 6-2, 7-6(3), 4-6, 2-6, 7-6(5), but came away with a sense that he belong with the big boys on the ATP Tour.

“When I've played against the top players, apart against Rafa, I was close,” Alcaraz said. “I think I have the level to play against the top players. I'm getting close, getting closer every tournament that I'm playing. That's the point, no, to be able to be part of the top players, and I think I'm really close of that. I think, as I said, I have the level. I am playing really well. So I think that I'm ready for that.”

Berrettini, who moves on to face Pablo Carreno Busta in the round of 16, was duly impressed by the teenager’s effort as well.

“He’s unbelievable. At his age I didn’t even have an ATP point,” Berrettini said of the No 31 seed. “He’s impressive. He can only improve playing matches like this. He showed everyone today his potential – luckily today I won, but congrats to him.”