Match reports

IBI23: Alcaraz wins first ever Rome match and regains number one

Solid debut in Rome for the second seed despite the difficult weather conditions.

The much anticipated first appearance of Carlos Alcaraz at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia finally came to be on an unkind wet day in Rome. Despite the conditions, the Spaniard slowly found his game against an inspired Albert Ramos-Vinolas to close in straight set 6-4 6-1. A solid start for the 20-year-old who will regain the lead in the world rankings thanks to his appearance in the draw today and he honoured it with a victory.

In an odd but pleasant twist of fate, Alcaraz’s first ever match in Rome came against the same opponent he had faced during his first ever ATP main tour match and just like in 2020, he came on top of the challenge posed by Ramos-Vinolas.

The 35-year-old had a better impact to the match, breaking Alcaraz’s serve in the opening game, but despite playing probably the pest tennis of his otherwise lacklustre season, he soon was broken back. With each point, the second seed looked more and more at ease with the conditions and soon started to heat up the crowd with some of his spectacular shots.

After one of them, in the 9th game of the first set, he climbed back from 40-15 on Ramos-Vinolas’s serve to break him once more and seal the first set.

With full wind behind his wings, the soon-to-be world number one dictated the rhythm of the match and finally pulled away from his opponent for a solid victory in Rome. The first of many more to come.

I feel great. Even if the conditions weretough…” he commented after the match, spending a few words on the love he received from the crowd: “I felt the love from the people. As I said on court, it was great to have a lot of people, even a really tough condition, really tough day, waiting the whole day. It was great to play my first match here in Rome“.

The Spaniard also commented on his return to the top of the ATP rankings, comparing how much has changed since the first time he took that spot in the rankings.

I grew up a lot in just a year. I have more experience. I played great matches. I grew up thanks to that a lot. I more mature as well. I would say in just a year I’m a totally different player. I read the match better than last year. I would say this year is totally different for me“.

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