Carlos Alcaraz won his 13th ATP match in a row as the world number one began the Toronto Masters by defeating Ben Shelton 6-3, 7-6 (7/3) on Wednesday.
The second-round battle of the two 20-year-olds went to the Spaniard, who is bidding for Canadian success after winning successive trophies at Queen’s Club and Wimbledon.
Alcaraz now stands 48-4 on the season as he begins the build-up for his defence of the US Open title.
The top seed admitted that he was out-hit at times by his 41st-ranked American opponent in the 56-minute contest - his first career win in Toronto.
“He was more aggressive than me from the start,” Alcaraz said. “I tried to be solid and find my rhythm, but I had some trouble.
“But I’m happy to be through to the next round. Matches like this help to focus. I have to play better from now on,” added Alcaraz, who faces Polish 15th seed Hubert Hurkacz in the last 16.
Murray shows improvement
Britain’s Andy Murray continued to show steady improvement as the August 28 start of the US Open draws closer, with the 36-year-old defeating qualifier Max Purcell 7-6 (7/2), 3-6, 7-5.
The three-time Grand Slam champion recovered from a break down in the final set as he dug in against a feisty opponent from qualifying in a struggle lasting for nearly three hours.
2017 champion Alexander Zverev fell to Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 6-1, 6-2 in 62 minutes, with the German losing serve four times.
Jannik Sinner won an all-Italian battle over Matteo Berrettini 6-4, 6-3, saving all seven of the break points he faced. The seventh seed now plays Murray.
He joined countryman Lorenzo Musetti in the round of 16 after the number 19 put out Australian Thanasi Kokkinakis in a 4-6, 7-5, 6-4 fightback.
Young compatriot Gabriel Diallo was eliminated by Australian Alex de Minaur 6-4, 7-5.
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