Carlos Alcaraz reclaimed top spot in the ATP Rankings as he made his debut at the Italian Open in Rome on Saturday.
The 20-year-old Spaniard, who only needed to play a match in the Italian capital to go past Novak Djokovic, beat compatriot Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-4, 6-1 in an hour and 26 minutes in the second round.
Djokovic arrived in Rome with a five-point advantage over Alcaraz, but as the defending champion, the Serb cannot improve his tally any further.
Alcaraz earned 45 points by winning the match against World No.72 Ramos-Vinolas, enough to put him on top of the rankings and assure him of the number one seeding for the French Open later this month.
He overcame an early loss of serve amid heavy conditions at the Foro Italico to level up the opening set at 2-2 before earning another chance to break Ramos-Vinolas with a deft drop shot in an intense 10th game and take the advantage in the match when his compatriot finally cracked under the pressure and sent a forehand long.
Alcaraz continued to build momentum and raced ahead 3-0 in the second set against a fading Ramos-Vinolas, wrapping up the match on serve to make it 12 wins in a row.
“It wasn’t easy. The first round of every tournament is really tough and of course Albert Ramos, especially on clay, is a really tough opponent,” Alcaraz told atptour.com.
“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 and really happy to be able to play in the next round,” added the Spaniard, who has won back-to-back clay court titles in Barcelona and Madrid.
Alcaraz became the first-ever teenage world number one thanks to his US Open victory last September.
(With inputs from Reuters)
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