Defending champion Alcaraz cruises into Miami third round

The world’s top-ranked Carlos Alcaraz defeated Argentina’s Facundo Bagnis on Friday, winning 6-0, 6-2, to make an impressive start to his Miami Open championship defense.

The 19-year-old Spaniard, who last week defeated Daniil Medvedev in the Indian Wells final, is attempting to accomplish the “Sunshine Double” and become the youngest player to ever hold the top spot in the rankings.

Alcaraz got off to a flying start, claiming the first 11 points of the game while Bagnis, 33, had absolutely no response to the teenager’s potent serve.

When Bagnis, who has never defeated a player ranked in the top 20, held serve in the second set and then broke Alcaraz to make it 2-2, the Hard Rock Stadium audience cheered loudly.

Alcaraz had no more issues as he blasted his way to victory in just 65 minutes, but it was only a short respite for Bagnis rather than a change in the momentum.

“To start a new tournament is never easy, different conditions. I have to be ready to get used to these new conditions, but I was really focused on the match from the beginning, and I’m happy with the way that I played,” said the Spaniard.

Alcaraz, who must win to keep his top position, will go up against either American Maxime Cressy or Serbian Dusan Lajovic in the third round.

Alcaraz boldly predicted after his victory in Miami last year that he was ready to win a Grand Slam, and he now returns having accomplished that feat and, he admits, as a changed man.

“I grew up a lot since last year. It has been a great year for me as a player, as a person as well. I learned a lot of things, not only on court, also off the court, as well,” he said.

His whirlwind year caught up with him physically – he had to miss January’s Australian Open with a leg injury – and the Spaniard says he is now more careful about his physical condition.

“I have to take care about myself a little bit more off the court, taking care about going early to bed, to rest better, eat well, take care of myself off the court. That’s the most important thing for me,” he said.

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