Carlos Alcaraz made a winning debut at the Italian Open and will now return to the top of the men’s world rankings.
Alcaraz cruised to a 6-4 6-1 victory over fellow Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas in Rome, but just by stepping on court the 20-year-old guaranteed taking the number one spot from Novak Djokovic following the ATP Masters 1000 event.
“It wasn’t easy,” Alcaraz was quoted as saying on the official ATP website after a 12th straight victory improved his record to 30-2 this season.
“The first round of every tournament is really tough and of course Albert, especially on clay, is a really tough opponent.
“I had to adapt my game really quickly to be able to get though. The conditions weren’t easy as well, the rain, the waiting all day.
“I didn’t know if I was going to play or not. But I’m really happy with my performance at the end.”
Roberto Carballes Baena overcame Great Britain’s Dan Evans 7-6 (5) 5-7 6-4, and there were also second round wins for Borna Coric, JJ Wolf and Lorenzo Sonego.
World number six Andrey Rublev overcame Alex Molcan 6-3 6-4 in a second-round match featuring two rain interruptions.
“I’m happy that I was able to finish just before the rain,” said Rublev, speaking as the bad weather returned soon after match point.
“I really like slower courts, especially when it’s weather like this, cold and rainy. I like it even more because I have more time.”
In the women’s singles, Camila Osorio claimed a milestone third-round win by upsetting number five Caroline Garcia in straight sets.
Osorio’s next challenge is number 12 seed Beatriz Haddad Maia, who defeated Magda Linette 7-5 6-4 in a first-time meeting.
China’s Wang Xiyu advanced against Taylor Townsend after coming back from a break down in the final set and saving one match point to triumph 6-2 0-6 7-5.
Wang said: “I just tried my best and fight every point. It was good, I fought until the end.”
Number 11 seed Veronika Kudermetova, Anhelina Kalinina and Qinwen Zheng also progressed into the last 16 before the rain arrived.