The world No.1 Carlos Alcaraz opened the defence of his Miami Open Masters’ crown with a dominating and comprehensive 6-0 6-2 win over Argentina’s Facundo Bagnis.
I would say it is no different to play a first round here than last year. I would say the only difference is that I played in the centre court and last year I was not there. It’s that difference only. Carlos Alcaraz
The 19-year-old who won the Indian Wells Masters last Sunday is now going for the ‘Sunshine Double’ to become only the eighth player to achieve that distinction.
And he has certainly set off in style after losing just 4 points on his first serve and breaking his opponent six times during the 64-minutes it took the young Spaniard to complete his victory.
His triumph was so one-sided that he didn’t drop a point during the opening set allowing Bagnis just seven points in those six games!
“Well, it is different to be back here as a defending champion,” Alcaraz commented on his performance on returning to scene of his first Masters title. “Obviously, it is great to play here. I would say it is no different to play a first round here than last year. I would say the only difference is that I played in the centre court and last year I was not there. It’s that difference only.
“I always say the same when I come into a tournament, for me, it is a new tournament. It’s day by day, round by round, try to play my best every day, try to enjoy every match as well. That’s the only goal and only thoughts on my mind in every match.”
While Alcaraz had no problems to advance into the third round at the Hard Rock Stadium, Alexander Zverev found himself with plenty of them.
The 13th seeded German, currently ranked 15, crashed out of the event to Taro Daniele, a wild card entry on this occasion, 6-0 6-4 as the 30-year-old American born Japanese player continued his run of upsetting seeded players early in the last three tournaments – in Acapulco he took down fourth-ranked Casper Ruud and at Indian Wells he knocked out Matteo Berrettini, who has slipped to 23, adding Zverev in Miami..
Like Alacarz, he tore through the opener as a tired Zverev struggled with his game. Daniel broke for 3-2 in the second set and held serve the rest of the way to finish off his victory in 75-minutes.
Daniel, ranked No 97, will face Emil Ruusuvuori next, the Finn having dispatched the 22nd seed, Spain’s Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4 7-6(5) while Alcaraz takes on Serbia’s Dusan Lajovic who also saw off a seeded player, namely the 30th seeded Maxime Cressy of the US, 6-4 7-6(2).
The Norwegian Ruud hasn’t had a good season so far. As mentioned, he was one of Daniel’s upsets and he has struggled somewhat to recapture the form which took him to two Grand Slam finals last year as well as the final of the Miami Masters and he would love to at least replicate that run having now kicked off with a comfortable 6-2 6-3 win over Belarussian Ilya Ivashka.
“I want to believe one match will turn it around but there are still a lot of matches to be played with a lot of good players left in the tournament,” the likeable Ruud said. “It’s been almost two weeks since I’ve played a match after taking an early loss in Indian Wells. I worked hard and came into Miami with great memories from last year.”
In other action the 10th-seeded former finalist Jannik Sinner sent off Serbia’s Laslo Djere 6-4 6-2 while the ninth-seeded Taylor Fritz of the US advanced past countryman and qualifier Emilio Nava 6-4 6-1 and the sixth seeded Russian Andrey Rublev defeated another American J.J. Wolf 7-6(3) 6-4.
Elsewhere, the 16th seed Tommy Paul of the US edged past Switzerland’s Marc-Andrea Huesler 5-7 6-3 6-4 while the 21st-seeded Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov also recovered from a set down to defeat Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff 4-6 7-6(5) 6-4 and the seventh seeded Dane Holger Rune ousted Hungary’s Marton Fucsovics 6-3 7-5.
Britain’s Cameron Norrie and Daniel Evans are scheduled for play on Saturday having been given byes in the first round.
The eleventh-seeded Norrie, faces Gregoire Barrere of France while Evans, seeded at 23, takes on the tricky Italian Lorenzo Sonego.