BARCELONA, Spain (AP)Playing on home soil for the first time in nearly a year, Carlos Alcaraz defeated Soonwoo Kwon 6-1, 2-6, 6-2 in his opening match at the Barcelona Open on Wednesday.
The 11th-ranked Spaniard, seeking his third title in 2022, improved to 19-3 this season. He was coming off an early exit in Monte Carlo after winning in Rio de Janeiro and Miami.
The 18-year-old Alcaraz hadn’t played in Spain since losing to idol Rafael Nadal in the round of 32 of the Madrid Open last May.
”It was tough to keep up with the score in the second set,” Alcaraz said after beating his 71st-ranked opponent from South Korea. ”I think he started to play really well. And then I (started) very well at the third.”
The fifth-seeded Alcaraz will next face countryman Jaume Munar, who defeated ninth-seeded Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-1, 6-4.
Top-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas was 5-1 up in the first set when his match against 44th-ranked Ilya Ivashka had to be suspended overnight because of rain. The match will continue on Thursday morning.
Third-seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime earned his second clay-court win of the year by defeating Spanish qualifier Carlos Taberner 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 in the second round, improving to a career-best 15-4 record in 2022 after winning his maiden title in Rotterdam and reaching the final in Marseille.
”It was unfortunate that I lost my rhythm a little bit in the second set, lost my serve too many times, but I credit him also for defending well, showing a great level for a clay-court player,” Auger-Aliassime said.
He will next face American Frances Tiafoe, who got past Bolivian qualifier Hugo Dellien 7-6 (3), 6-1.
Eighth-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta defeated qualifier Bernabe Zapata Miralles 6-3, 6-3 in an all-Spanish match, while Marton Fucsovics beat veteran Federico Delbonis 6-2, 6-1.
Alex de Minaur defeated Ugo Humbert 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.
More AP tennis: https://apnews.com/hub/tennis and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports