To move up, you must do even better. No resting on your laurels here, mate. And Karatsev did not do better. He didn’t even do as well in 2022 as he has in 2021 so his ranking dropped.
Starting again this year, he reached the semi-finals of the ATP 250 in Pune in January, he qualified and reached the semi-finals of the Masters 1000 in Madrid (taking out Daniil Medvedev along the way) and arrived here with his clay-court game in good fettle and with a ranking of No.62.
Today the qualifying top seed must find a way past Nicolas Moreno De Alboran of the United States on Court 7.
The New Yorker has never played a tour level match (he earns his crust on the Challenger circuit) but at the age of 25, he is still working towards that goal.
With a ranking of No.187 his motto is: “If it was easy, everyone would do it" and while it may not be easy today, both men know they are just two sets away from their goal.