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Alcaraz Edge Past Ramos Vinolas In Busy Day At Italian Open

The Italian Open is one of the key milestones on the road to Roland-Garros and plenty of stars were in action on Saturday afternoon. Andrey Rublev was the first to move into the round of 32 on the day, joining the already qualified Jannik Sinner, Casper Ruud, Cam Norrie and Novak Djokovic. Rublev defeated Slovakian Alex Molcan, marching into the third round in straight sets, 6-3-6-4.

The bottom half of the draw kicked into action in the second round of the Italian Open in Rome on Saturday afternoon with a host of big names in action.

World No. 2 Carlos Alcaraz won an all-Spanish affair against the veteran Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-4 6-1 to advance to the third round.

Alcaraz was just six days removed from victory in the Madrid Masters and carried that form into Rome. He leaned on his powerful serve, winning 81% on first serve and hitting three aces.

However, Ramos actually broke Alcaraz in the first game of the match but his young opponent broke back in the fourth game and never again trailed.

Alcaraz seemed to be in a hurry as the match neared its end, dropping just one point as he swept through the final three games to take the match in 87 minutes.

Next on the hit list for the Spaniard is one of Jiri Lehecka and Fabian Marozsan.

Earlier in the day, World No. 6 Andrey Rublev swept past Slovak Alex Molcan in straight sets, 6-3 6-4.

Molcan kept things tight, saving two of three break points in the first set and making just one unforced error, but was overcome in the decisive points.

Rublev’s two breaks of serve, one in each set, proved the difference in the 79-minute clash.

Shortly after the match concluded, rain stopped play to delay the remainder of the afternoon’s matches.

Molcan had edged past Italian qualifier Stefano Napolitano in the first round, while Rublev was handed a bye as a top seed.

Their only previous match, also on clay in the semi-finals of the Banja Luka event in Bosnia and Herzegovina earlier this year, went the way of the Russian in straight sets.

The clay-court event in Rome is considered one of the key indicators of a player’s hopes of winning the French Open, along with the Monte-Carlo Masters, and the Madrid Open.

With Rublev having won in Monte-Carlo, he is eyeing a famous double that should set him up well for Roland-Garros.

Argentinian Guido Pella or Spain’s No. 27 seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina will face Rublev in the next round.

Once play resumed, Bernabe Zapata Miralles was the next to reach the fourth round as he cruised past Australian Jason Kubler 6-4 6-1.

Kubler broke Miralles twice in the first set to move into a 3-0 lead but quickly saw his advantage evaporate as the Spaniard came roaring back. He won five of the next six games, crucially fighting off two break points in the 11th game of the set, before breaking Kubler for a third time to take the set in 52 minutes.

The Australian seemed to have expended all his energy in the first set as the second saw Miralles roll to victory. Kubler was twice broken but at least managed to stave off five match points before eventually succumbing in the seventh game of the set.

Borna Coric beat Thiago Monteiro in a three hour and 34 minute epic, 4-6 7-6(8) 7-6(5) to book his spot in the next round. The 15th seed did things the hard way after dropping the opening set and had to survive match point in the second set tiebreaker but held on for victory.

Hubert Hurkacz was upset by J.J. Wolf 6-3 6-4 in just 77 minutes.

The World No. 15 was rolling along nicely in the first set until, when up 40-15 in the ninth game of the set, the wheels fell off.

Wolf clawed back that game, breaking his Polish opponent’s serve for the first time before serving out the set. Hurkacz dropped the first game of the second set and could never reel back the American from there.

Wolf served out the match to love to secure a third round meeting with either Alexander Zverev or David Goffin.

Britain’s Dan Evans was another favourite to slip to an upset as Spain’s Roberto Carballes Baena won a near four-hour long three setter, 7-6 5-7 6-4.

The first set alone lasted 97 minutes after Evans survived three set points to force a tiebreaker which he eventually lost 7-5.

At 5-5 in the second, Evans pulled off a crucial break and served out the set to force a decisive third set.

They went game-for-game in the third until Carballes Baena pulled off a crucial break in the tenth game to take the set and match after three hours and 48 minutes.

Carballes Baena will face Coric in the next round and is on a collision course with fellow Spaniard Alcaraz if both reach the fourth round.

World No. 23 Alejandro Davidovich Fokina enjoyed an interesting win over Argentinian Guido Pella, 6-0 7-6(7-4) in 99 minutes.

After being bagelled in the first set, Pella held his first three service games in the second and saw off three match points to force a tiebreaker.

The Spaniard pulled clear in the tiebreaker though, and earned a third round meeting with Rublev.

Lorenzo Sonego pulled off an upset win over No. 25 seed Yoshi Nishioka, 7-5 6-3. The Italian beat Frenchman Jeremy Chardy in the previous round and could face Stefanos Tsitsipas up next.

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