Tennis: Alcaraz wins Italian Open debut to regain No. 1 and secure Roland Garros top seed

AP , Sunday 14 May 2023

Carlos Alcaraz will reclaim the No. 1 ranking after beating Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-4, 6-1 in his Italian Open debut on Saturday.

Carlos Alcaraz of Spain waves after winning his match against Albert Ramos-Vinolas of Spain at the Italian Open tennis tournament, in Rome, Saturday, May 13, 2023. AP


Alcaraz will pass Novak Djokovic for the top spot when the rankings are next published on May 22 — ensuring he will get the No. 1 seeding at the French Open, which starts on May 28.

Alcaraz double-faulted to hand Ramos-Vinolas a break of his serve in the opening game of the match but quickly recovered and used his well-disguised drop shot to set up the key break at the end of the first set.

Alcaraz produced nearly three times as many winners as Ramos-Vinolas, 28-11, despite slow conditions on a rainy day at the Foro Italico.

Coming off titles in Barcelona and Madrid, Alcaraz extended his winning streak to 12 matches and improved to 20-1 on clay this year.

In other second-round matches, sixth-seeded Andrey Rublev beat Alex Molcan 6-3, 6-4; 2021 semifinalist Lorenzo Sonego defeated Yoshihito Nishioka 7-5, 6-3; J.J. Wolf eliminated 14th-seeded Hubert Hurkacz 6-3, 6-4; and Borna Coric rallied past Thiago Monteiro 4-6, 7-6 (8), 7-6 (5).

Alcaraz will next face Jiri Lehecka or Hungarian qualifier Fabian Marozsan.

Djokovic, who is in the other half of the draw, won his opening match on Friday.

In the women's third round, Colombian qualifier Camila Osorio upset fifth-seeded Caroline Garcia 6-4, 6-4; Anhelina Kalinina beat Sofia Kenin 6-4, 6-2; and Wang Xiyu defeated Taylor Townsend 6-2, 0-6, 7-5.

Several other matches were either suspended or postponed to Sunday due to rain.

Fifth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas was leading Nuno Borges 6-3, 4-3 when their match was stopped. Also, German qualifier Daniel Altmaier was leading Frances Tiafoe 6-3, 3-4; while Lehecka and Marozsan had just started a third set.

Rain also delayed the start of play for nearly two hours and there was also a brief interruption during the first set of the Rublev-Molcan match. Then there was a downpour during the final points, as Rublev hurried to close it out.

“I can rest now and I can rest tomorrow. I don’t need to stress waiting,” said Rublev, who won the Monte Carlo Masters last month. “It’s very lucky when you are able to finish just before the rain and you know that most of the players still didn’t play.”

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