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Alcaraz opens in Madrid with straight-set win over Basilashvili

Carlos Alcaraz treats the home crowd to a straight-set defeat of Nikoloz Basilashvili during second-round action on Tuesday. Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray, and Andrey Rublev were other players who advanced to the last 16.

Carlos Alcaraz Carlos Alcaraz (Imago / Panoramic)

Mutua Madrid Open | Draw | Order of play

Carlos Alcaraz picked up his 24th ATP match win of the season — tying him with Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev for the lead — when he beat Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-3, 7-5 on Tuesday night. Alcaraz broke serve a whopping six times while prevailing in one hour and 23 minutes.

Despite the relatively routine scoreline and short duration of the match, it wasn’t entirely smooth sailing for the Spaniard. He trailed by a break in both sets, including deficits of 3-1 in the first set and 5-3 in the second. However, Basilashvili struggled on his own serve the entire way and twice gave back breaks in set two. The 27th-ranked Georgian double-faulted on break point while trying to serve it out at 5-4 and he fell into a quick 0-40 hole while serving to stay in the contest at 5-6. Alcaraz converted his second match point on a return winner off the net cord.

“I played really well,” Alcaraz assured. “I think the first match in every tournament is tough, but I was focused all the time from the beginning to the end…. I’m more mature now (compared to last year). I’m a different player now. I manage the nerves better than the Carlitos before.”

The world No. 9 awaits either Cameron Norrie or John Isner on Thursday, when he will be celebrating his 19th birthday.

It’s a difficult draw as a whole for Alcaraz, and not just because of Basilashvili in round two followed by Norrie or Isner. Rafael Nadal is in the same quarter of the bracket and Novak Djokovic is a potential semifinal foe. Djokovic kicked off his Madrid campaign with a 6-3, 6-2 defeat of Gael Monfils on Tuesday afternoon.

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