‘I play every match thinking I have to…’

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Carlos Alcaraz sealed his qualification for the second round of the Rio Open presented by Claro this Wednesday, thanks to a 6-4, 6-4 victory against Brazilian Mateus Alves to take the first step in his intention to defend the title he won a few years ago .

“It was tougher than I thought,” mused the Pepperstone ATP Ranking No. 2. “It is not easy to adapt to the conditions after coming from Buenos Aires. It’s not easy to start a tournament well either, but I’m happy with my performance and to be able to advance”.

The 19-year-old from Murcia was leading 6-4, 5-3 on Tuesday when his match was rained out. This Wednesday he returned to the track to finish the job and seal his fifth victory of the year (5-0 record ) after one hour and 56 minutes of play.

This Wednesday he was only nine minutes on the track. Enough to keep the victory thanks to taking advantage of four of nine breakaway chances that made up for having lost two serving games in the match, including the first one he had and which left him at an initial 0-2 deficit.

However, the Spaniard prevented the Brazilian, world No. 556 and who was playing his first match in an ATP Tour main draw, from confirming that break. Alves’ other break came at 2-3 in the second set, but Alcaraz broke immediately after and quickly headed to his seventh win in Rio (7-1 record in the tournament).

His next rival will be Fabio Fognini, No. 86 in the ranking and with whom he has a 1-0 record after beating him in the semifinals of this same tournament in 2022, when Alcaraz won his second title on the ATP Tour. has seven trophies under his belt, including the one from last week at the Argentina Open.

“He is a great player,” said Alcaraz about Fognini. “I have to play at a high level to beat him because he’s very talented and it’s not easy to play against him.”

Carlos Alcaraz won in Baires

Speaking on the sidelines of the Rio Open, Carlos Alcaraz hinted at his desire to reclaim the top spot and win a few more Grand Slam titles this season.

“Truth is a beautiful year awaits, with beautiful tournaments,” Carlos Alcaraz said. “It is true there will be a little pressure to defend important titles. I will have to play at a good level, nut, as I always say, I play every match thinking I have to enjoy it, much beyond the results.

I have to try to win more Grand Slam titles, reclaim te No. 1 position,” Carlos Alcaraz said. “That’s what I am hoping for this year,” he continued. “It is not easy to stop after an entire match and have to start it again the next day, I feel I am doing well after four months injured. I had a very good week in Argentina and I am coming here with a lot of confidence,” he added.

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