Carlos Alcaraz was outside the Top 100 a year ago and had no ATP Tour singles victories to his record going into his first Madrid Open campaign. In 2022, he has four trophies to his name and feels at ease while playing in important games.
The teenager is riding high after winning the Barcelona Open last week, which came only a few weeks after capturing his first ATP Masters 1000 title, the Miami Open, and the Rio Open in February.
In his Madrid debut, he came from behind to beat Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-3, 7-5 in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
He had to dig deep when he fell behind 1-3, but he responded quickly to come back on serve, then took four of the following five games – including two more breaks – to take the opening set.
The Spaniard got off to a shaky start in the second set, as he was broken in the first game, but drew level in game four before losing his serve again in game five, giving the world No 27 a 3-2 lead.
Alcaraz regained his composure in game 10 and, following a love game, secured another break to round off the match.
“I think I played really well. This is a tough opponent. He plays really hard,” Alcaraz said post-match. “I think that the first match in every tournament is tough, but I was focused from the beginning to the end and I’m really happy to get into the next round."