Madrid | Alcaraz eases through but Rune drops out

Carlos Alcaraz moved a step closer to a third straight Madrid Masters title as he beat Thiago Seyboth Wild in straight sets and will be happy to see one of his rivals and potential quarter final opponent, Holger Rune, drop out of the race, dispatched by Tallon Griekspoor in three sets.

I didn’t know how my forearm was going to be because Thiago has big shots and hits the ball really strong. But I was really happy with the performance Carlos Alcaraz

The defending champion won his 13th successive match in the Spanish capital as he beat his Brazilian opponent 6-3 6-3, the world No.63, and reach the last 16.

World No.3 Alcaraz, who is bidding to win his 14th title, proved too strong for Seyboth Wild who couldn’t find an answer to compete with the 20-year-old’s varied game.

Alcaraz next plays 23rd seed Jan-Lennard Struff – a 7-5 6-4 winner over the 13th seeded Frenchman, Ugo Humbert – in a rematch of last year’s final won by the Spaniard 6-4 3-6 6-3.

“I played a very good level,” Alcaraz said following his performance on Sunday in which he showed no signs of the arm injury he suffered a few weeks back and which prevented him from playing Monte Carlo and Barcelona.

“Coming into this match I was nervous a bit. I didn’t know how my forearm was going to be because Thiago has big shots and hits the ball really strong. But I was really happy with the performance.”

Looking ahead to facing Struff, he added: “I know his level, I know his game a bit. I know that I have to play at my best to beat him.

“I have to be really focused on the return, putting as many balls in as I can and being in the rallies, but it’s going to be a difficult one.”

Against Seyboth Wild he reeled off four games in a row to take the first set, breaking serve twice.

He continued to dominate in the second set with his heavy hitting and brilliantly disguised drop shots to run into a 5-0 lead at which point Seyboth Willd just managed to get back into the match and produce a late three-game comeback before Alcaraz served out at the second attempt.

Tallon Griekspoor held his nerve to progress

(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Earlier, the shock of the day was orchestrated by the Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor, the 24th seed, who outlasted the 11th seed Holger Rune, the 21-year-old Dane who has just dropped out of the world’s top ten.

His latest 6-4 4-6 6-4 loss will not help him recover his place while his opponent will certainly be improving his own position of 23 in the rankings.

On this occasion Rune, currently ranked 12, failed to pocket the first set which initially went on serve before the Dane was broken late on to concede it.

However, he struck back immediately in the second to start mounting a comeback and levelling at a set-all but the comeback was dashed in the decider when he was broken early to trail 3-1. And it was Griekspoor who held his nerve better to claim the match and a place in the last 16.

In other action Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz (8) also made the last 16 with a 6-4 7-6(2) victory over Daniel Altmaier of Germany.

Russia’s Andrey Rublev (7) came from 5-0 down in the first set tie-break to beat Spain’s Alejandro Davidovich Fokina 7-6(10) 6-4.

Taylor Fritz (12) of the US swept aside the 18th seed, Argentina’ Sebastian Baez 6-2 6-3 win while his compatriot Francisco Cerundolo (21) made up for that loss by upseting America’s Tommy Paul (15) with an excellent 6-7(7) 6-4 6-2 victory.

A dejected Holger Rune leaves Madrid

(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)



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