French Open 2022: Alcaraz, Zverev reach second round

Carlos Alcaraz steamrolled past Juan Ignacio Londero to kick off his French Open campaign, while Alexander Zverev produced a clinical performance to win against qualifier Sebastian Ofner.

Spain's Carlos Alcaraz Garfia in action.   -  Reuters

Teenage sensation Carlos Alcaraz steamrolled past Argentine Juan Ignacio Londero 6-4, 6-2, 6-0 to kick off his French Open campaign in solid, although imperfect, fashion on Sunday.

The 19-year-old sixth seed, who won the Barcelona Open and the Madrid Masters in the run-up to Roland Garros, needed just one set to adjust to the immense Court Philippe Chatrier to set up a meeting with fellow Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas.

The teenager, who reached the third round as a qualifier last year in Paris, has taken the tennis world by storm this season with four titles and has arrived at the French Open established as one of the title favourites.

He admitted, however, that his game needed some polishing after a tricky start to the match.

"I always say that you have to improve every day if you are the best player in the world. Not in my case," he told a news conference.

"But for example, Rafa (Nadal) says every day that he always improves every day. I would say I have to improve everything a little bit. You can improve everything every day, you know. And I would say everything. I have to improve everything."

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With the weight of expectation weighing on his shoulders, Alcaraz showed some signs of frustration as things got tense in the 10th game of the opening set, but the Spaniard bagged it on his first opportunity when Londero netted a routine backhand.

A wide forehand by Londero gave Alcaraz a break for 4-2 in the second set.

His devastating forehand continued its demolition job on a sorry Londero, who misfired again on set point to give Alcaraz a definitive edge.

The third set was a one-sided affair that lasted only half an hour as the sun set on the French capital.

"This tournament is very special, I've been watching it since I was a kid," Alcaraz, who is in the same half of the draw as 13-time French Open winner Rafael Nadal and defending champion Novak Djokovic, told a courtside interviewer.

"It took me a little while to find my range and to get used to the size of the court."

Clinical Zverev eases into second round

German third seed Alexander Zverev was happy with the start to his French Open campaign on Sunday, hoping he could build on his strong claycourt form after producing a clinical performance in a 6-2, 6-4, 6-4 win against Austrian qualifier Sebastian Ofner.

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The 25-year-old Zverev, who reached the semi-finals last year at Roland Garros, came to Paris after reaching the final in Madrid and making semi-final runs at Monte-Carlo and Rome.

"I had a very stable clay-court season," Zverev said on court. "Semis in Monte Carlo, final in Madrid, semis in Rome. But I didn't win any tournaments. I'm always somebody that likes to win, rather than be stable.

"I'd rather lose first round, first round, first round and then win a tournament, so hopefully I can do that here. Hopefully I can play my best tennis here."

On a balmy evening he dominated proceedings from the start on Court Suzanne Lenglen against his opponent, ranked 218th in the world.

Zverev did not face a single breakpoint on his own serve while breaking Ofner twice in the opening set and once in each of the next two, and he closed out the contest in an hour and 49 minutes with his 13th ace.

"Usually I start a Grand Slam tournament with a five-set match and a few hours on court, but (coach) Sergi (Bruguera) told me today not to do that so I listened to him for once.

"I'm happy with the match, especially against Sebastian who already played three matches here. He's playing very well, so I'm happy with the start here."

Zverev will next face the winner of the match between Serbian Dusan Lajovic and Sebastian Baez of Argentina.

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