Facebook Social Button Twitter Social Button Follow Us on InstagramYouTube Social Button
NewsScoresRankingsLucky Letcord PodcastShopPro GearPickleballGear Sale

By Richard Pagliaro | Saturday, May 13, 2023


Carlos Alcaraz conquer compatriot Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-4, 6-1 to score his 12th straight win and regain the world No. 1 ranking in his Rome debut.

Photo credit: FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images

Bouncing up and down on the red clay like a sprinter pumping up for the starting blocks, Carlos Alcaraz looked like a man going places even when the ball wasn't in play.

Revved up for his Rome debut, Alcaraz raced through eight of the last nine games conquering compatriot Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-4, 6-1 to score his 12th straight win.

More: Madrid Apologizes for Muting Women's Doubles Final

Madrid champion Alcaraz improved to 30-2 on the season, including an ATP-best 20-1 clay-court record.

"I feel great. Even the conditions was tough," Alcaraz said. "Apart of that, yeah, I felt the love from the people.

"It was great to have a lot of people, even a really tough condition, really tough day, waiting the whole day. It was great to play my first match here in Rome."

Rome is a springboard to first-class success for Alcaraz, who clinched his return to the world No. 1 ranking and top-seeded status for Roland Garros later this month.

Simply by stepping on court today, Alcaraz ensured he will surpass reigning Rome champion
Novak Djokovic to regain the top spot after Rome ends.

Alcaraz believes he returns to the top as a more mature No. 1. 

"I grew up a lot in just a year," Alcaraz said. "I have more experience. I played great matches. I grew up thanks to that a lot. I more mature as well.

"I would say in just a year I'm a totally different player. I read the match better than last year. I would say this year is totally different for me."

Of course, Alcaraz, the youngest year-end world No. 1 in ATP history, aspires to much more than expanding his time at the top.

Tennis Express

During his run to his second straight Madrid championship, Alcaraz shared his dream of tennis immortality.

"Well, my dream on tennis right now is to become one of the best tennis players in history," said Alcaraz, who celebrated his 20th birthday last Friday. "I know that this is a big dream, probably is too big.

"But in this world, you have to dream big and you have to think big, as well."

After a slow start today, Alcaraz sometimes played as big as the massive marble statues that stand sentry around the Foro Italico.

The US Open champion converted four of 12 break points and snapped off a final forehand winner, one of 23 winners he hit in 17 games, to close a confident 85-minute victory.

A decade after his tennis hero, Rafael Nadal, swept Madrid and Rome in succession for the second time, Alcaraz aims to join the king of clay and Novak Djokovic as the third man to complete the clay-court championship sweep of Madrid and Rome in the same season.

On a damp, dreary day, Ramos-Vinolas got off to a quick start exploiting errors from the second seed for the opening break. Ramos-Vinolas worked through a gritty nine-minute hold backing up the break for 2-0.

Finding his range and rhythm, Alcaraz began to target the left-hander's weaker backhand wing. Alcaraz drew a leaping error to break back in the fourth game.

The US Open champion deployed the drop shot and serve-and-volley holding for his third straight game and a 3-2 lead.

Playing for his third career Top 5 win, Ramos-Vinolas stayed in step through nine games. Serving at 4-5, 40-15, Ramos-Vinolas saw Alcaraz elevate to a higher level.

Knifing a sharp backhand volley, Alcaraz followed with a deft drop shot winner for break and set point.

When the 35-year-old Spaniard sailed a forehand down the line, Alcaraz had the 53-minute opener.

The second seed smacked 16 winners—10 more than his veteran opponent—snatching a one-set lead.

Spreading the court with his forehand, Alcaraz was matching the left-hander's topspin and hammering away at Ramos-Vinolas' backhand wing.

Smooth transition skills are an Alcaraz asset and he showed is streaming forward then soaring for a high backhand volley to extend the point, eventually drawing an errant forehand to score his second straight break for a 2-0 second-set lead

Alcaraz never looked back charging through 12 of the last 14 points to beat Ramos-Vinolas, who pushed him to five sets at the 2022 Roland Garros, for the fourth time in as many meetings.

Indian Wells champion Alcaraz will try to continue his roll against eithe
r Italian qualifier Fabian Marozsan or Jiri Lehecka next.

American JJ Wolf swept 14th-seeded Hubert Hurkacz 6-3, 6-4.

Wolf, who has not surrendered a set in two tournament wins, will face either Olympic gold-medal champion Alexander Zverev or David Goffin next. 

Monte-Carlo champion Andrey Rublev rolled Alex Molcan 6-3, 6-4, and will face either Alejandro Davidovich Fokina or Guido Pella next.


Latest News