Madrid | Alcaraz eases through; Hurkacz eliminates Draper and Rune survives marathon

Carlos Alcaraz made his first appearance at the Madrid Masters where he is the defending champion, and immediately marched into the third round with a 6-2 6-1 win over Alexander Shevchenko and then revealed he was ‘not feeling comfortable’ on the court.

It’s not going to leave my mind, I think. This Monday was the first [proper] practice I did in a while. Carlos Alcaraz

The world No.3 who skipped the opening tournaments in Monte Carlo and Barcelona with an arm injury said he wasn’t striking the ball with his usual power, especially his fearsome forehand.

Despite those limitations he required just over an hour to dispatch his Russian opponent and progress for a meeting with Brazil’s Thiago Seyboth Wild.

“The last month I just practised slices, volleys and backhands so I think it worked pretty well today,” Alcaraz said afterwards.

“That’s something that I was thinking about approaching this match, trying to hit the forehand really softer and trying to be aggressive with the backhand and trying to get to the net as soon as possible and I think I did a really good match in that part.”

There were no signs of physical problems as the 20-year-old from Murcia, broke Shevchenko in the opening game and strode into a 4-1.

The Russian did recover for 4-2, but Alcaraz was quick to snuff any hopes of his getting into the match and broke him again before holding to pocket the first set.

The second followed a similar pattern as Alcaraz moved ahead with a double break before Shevchenko was able to respond. Again that proved short-lived as Alcaraz retained control to take the match comfortably.

While he may not have been able to hit his forehand with his usual ferocity, he did strike 24 winners and convert seven of 11 break points.

When asked if his arm was a worry he admitted: “Not at all, but I’m thinking about it. It’s not going to leave my mind, I think. This Monday was the first [proper] practice I did in a while.

“Coming into this week I’ve been doing good things in practice, getting harder let’s say, but today I’m not feeling comfortable playing my forehand 100%.

“I think playing at this level, I’m really happy to do it and I think I can [still] be competitive.”

Hubert Hurkacz has Jack Draper's measure

(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Earlier in the day Jack Draper was bounced out of the event 6-1 7-5 by Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz in what was their second encounter of this clay court season.

In Monte Carlo the match was much tighter with the Pole finally defeating the Brit in the deciding set’s tie-breaker.

This time it was a more one-sided affair as the Pole took command in the opening set and never allowed Draper to get a foothold.

Hurkacz stormed into a 5-0 lead in the opening set with Draper just avoiding a suffering a bagel.

With the Pole’s excellent serving and powerful forehand, Hurkacz always looked the more comfortable on court as he sealed the first set.

The second set, however, was a much tighter affair and went with serve until 5-5 but a costly double fault from Draper handed Hurkacz a break and he held comfortably to book his spot in the last 32.

Holger Rune given a tough workout.

(Photo by Manuel Queimadelos/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)

Also through to round three is the 11th seeded Holger Rune, who was two points away from defeat in his opening match with last week’s Bucharest finalist, Argentina’s Mariano Navone.

Navone, the world No. 41, had the chance of causing the first major upset when he served for the match in the second set, but Rune recovered to complete a 5-7 7-6(2) 6-4 victory in three hours and woll now take on the Dutchman Tallon Griekspoor next.

While the Dane avoided defeat, other lower seeded players were not so successful.

France’s Arthur Fils (31) crashed out to Germany’s Daniel Altmaier 6-2 6-3 and Argentina’s Tomas Martin Etcheverry (26) couldn’t stop a resurgent Denis Shapovalov from advancing. The Canadian triumphed 7-6(3) 6-3 while Seyboth Wild took out Italy’s Lorenzo Musetti (28) with a comfortable 6-4 6-4 score line.



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