To afford the child prodigy of tennis, on clay moreover, you have to be perfect. It was while striving to make this match flawless that Denis Shapovalov scuttled himself.

Subscriber to double faults and unable to take advantage of his service, the Canadian did not last long against Carlos Alcaraz, folding the spine 6-1, 6-4, 6-2, Friday. The course of Shapovalov and therefore of the last Canadian – in the men’s section – at the Porte d’Auteuil is stopped in the third round.

Even before entering the field, Alcaraz was widely expected to win the first duel between the two men. Five games later, all won by the Spaniard, the result was no longer in doubt.

However, the Ontarian could take advantage of this meeting against the world’s leading racquet to try to breathe some life into his year, especially as the grass season approaches.

In the second round he did. The left-hander, who was able to count on the support of the crowd, obtained more successes. More success, certainly, but even more waste and regrets. He missed a perfect opportunity to destabilize his rival.

Shapovalov was able to take a 4-1 lead at some point in this set. However, his 10 double faults in the duel, including five in the second set, cost him dearly.

This is not to mention his service, out of fuel. Striving for perfection, only 56% of his first serves were in play. In addition, a starving 51% win rate on his first serve and 37% on his second serve illustrates the struggles Shapovalov experienced. Especially when the exchanges stretched.

Opposite, the Spaniard showed all his superiority with spectacular drop shots before coming back to win. He offered clean and precise play.

Shapovalov, unanswered, was not the master of the exchanges as he would like and seemed drained by the style of Alcaraz. The third and final round was therefore like the first: the emulator of Rafael Nadal was in a class by itself.

It’s a setback for Shapovalov, yes. His record this season is now 9-10, a record below .500 in tennis is far from ideal. It is also far from the expectations that the Canadian has of himself.

Nevertheless, there are positives to be taken away for Shapovalov from his time in the French capital. For the first time in his career, he passed the second round. However, it was his attitude that was remarkable.

Too often, Shapovalov has been explosive when the going gets tough for him. On Friday, he remained calm and did not cheer anyone on. It may be a fleeting side effect of his new association with coach Matt Daly—they’ve been teaming up for a week—but it’s certainly encouraging.

His power was visible against Alcaraz and against the other opponents he faced at Roland-Garros. With a bit more success in some games and keeping a good mentality, Shapovalov could finally take the next step in his career. A place where he’s been stuck for a while now.

On the center court, Alcaraz arrived with a white and green striped outfit reminiscent of the Nigerian jerseys at the Soccer World Cup. He honored Jay-Jay Okocha by offering a high quality show.

The 20-year-old improved his record to 33-3 this season. The 2022 US Open winner looked in control throughout and allowed himself some remarkable shots at net, leaving Shapovalov short of solutions most of the time.

Clay, Alcaraz’s preferred surface, allowed him to be even better against an opponent who usually struggles on this surface. Despite Shapovalov having an up and down season, Alcaraz simply showed he was superior. His ambitions to win the second Grand Slam tournament of the season are more animated than ever.

In the round of 16, Alcaraz will cross swords with Lorenzo Musetti, the 18th racket in the world. The 21-year-old Italian won against Cameron Norrie in three sets earlier today.