Alcaraz and Sabalenka, the defending champions, secure victories in their first matches at the Madrid Open

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Aryna Sabalenka

Carlos Alcaraz had a smooth victory in his first match at the Madrid Open on Friday, without putting too much pressure on his injured right arm.

The two-time defending champion hadn’t played in almost a month due to his arm injury, missing out on Monte Carlo and Barcelona tournaments. Despite doubts earlier this week about his fitness for the Madrid Open, Alcaraz managed a comfortable 6-2, 6-1 win against Alexander Shevchenko.

“I didn’t hit my forehand at full power. I toned it down a bit, but it helped me to stay relaxed,” said Alcaraz. “My main concern was to stay healthy when stepping onto the court.”

He expressed happiness about not feeling any discomfort in his forearm and gradually increasing his intensity during the match.

Meanwhile, Aryna Sabalenka, the defending women’s champion, faced a tougher challenge in her opening match against Magda Linette, winning 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 on the clay courts of Caja Magica.

This match marked Alcaraz’s return to play since the Miami Open quarterfinals nearly a month ago. His participation in Madrid is his first appearance in the European clay court swing, aiming to secure his first French Open title next month.

Carlos Alcaraz

“I’m focused on improving every day and getting closer to my best in Madrid,” said the two-time major champion. “I’m aiming to be fully ready for the upcoming tournaments, especially Roland Garros.”

In Madrid, Alcaraz, ranked third, received a bye in the first round as the second seed behind Jannik Sinner.

Despite wearing a compression sleeve on his right arm, Alcaraz displayed his usual aggressive style of play, breaking Shevchenko’s serve four times. His performance keeps Spanish tennis fans hopeful about the future after Rafael Nadal.

Next, Alcaraz will face Thiago Seyboth Wild of Brazil, who previously upset Daniil Medvedev at the French Open.

Alexander Zverev, the fourth seed and two-time Madrid champion, defeated Borna Coric 6-3, 6-2 and will compete against Denis Shapovalov in the next round.

Andrey Rublev, seeded seventh, ended his four-game losing streak by defeating Facundo Bagnis 6-1, 6-4, with his last win dating back to March at Indian Wells. Holger Rune narrowly avoided defeat against Mariano Navone, coming back to win 5-7, 7-6 (2), 6-4.

Other players advancing to the next round include Hubert Hurkacz, last year’s finalist Jan Lennard Struff, Taylor Fritz, Tommy Paul, Alejandro Davidovich, and Sebastian Baez.


By Ritik

Ritik Katiyar is pursuing a post-graduate degree in Pharmaceutics. Currently, he lives in Srinagar, Uttarakhand, India. You can find him writing about all sorts of listicle topics. A pharmaceutical postgrad by day, and a content writer by night. You can write to him at [email protected]

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