Alcaraz wins in 3 sets in opener at Barcelona Open


BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Playing on home soil for the first time in nearly a year, Carlos Alcaraz beat Soonwoo Kwon 6-1, 2-6, 6-2 in their opener at the Open de Barcelona on Wednesday.

The 11th-ranked Spaniard, seeking his third title in 2022, has improved to 19-3 this season. He had just come off early in Monte Carlo after winning in Rio de Janeiro and Miami.

Alcaraz, 18, had not played in Spain since losing to idol Rafael Nadal in the round of 16 at the Madrid Open last May.

“It was difficult to follow the score in the second set,” said Alcaraz after beating his 71st-ranked South Korean opponent. “I think he started to play very well. And then I (started) very well in the third.

Fifth-seeded Alcaraz next faces compatriot Jaume Munar, who beat ninth-seeded Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-1, 6-4.

Top-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas was leading 1-0 in the first set when his match against 44th-seeded Ilya Ivashka had to be suspended due to rain.

Third-seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime earned his second clay-court win of the year by beating Spanish qualifier Carlos Taberner 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 in the second round, improving on his best record in 15-4 career in 2022 after winning their maiden title in Rotterdam and reaching the final in Marseille.

“It’s a shame that I lost my rhythm a bit in the second set, lost my serve too many times, but I also owe him for defending well, showing an excellent level for a player on clay,” said said Auger-Aliassime.

He next faces American Frances Tiafoe, who beat Bolivian qualifier Hugo Dellien 7-6(3), 6-1.

Eighth-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta beat Bernabe qualifier Zapata Miralles 6-3, 6-3 in an all-Spanish game, while Marton Fucsovics beat veteran Federico Delbonis 6-2, 6-1.

Alex de Minaur beat Ugo Humbert 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.


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