10sBalls.com • TennisBalls.com

Alcaraz Tops Qualifier Cobolli in French Open Opener

Photo credit: Mutua Madrid Open Facebook

Midway through the second set, Carlos Alcaraz used explosive burst and crazy creativity to leave Flavio Cobolli seeing double.

Streaking up retrieve a drop shot, Alcaraz dabbed a forehand flick behind Cobolli that put the Italian’s head on a swivel and nearly knocked him out of his shoes trying to change direction.

Even when he looked out of position, Alcaraz answered with disorientating replies.

In his first Grand Slam match as world No. 1, Alcaraz combined force and finesse to dismiss Italian qualifier Cobolli 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 and cruise into the Roland Garros second round.

“I think I played great,” Alcaraz said. “It’s been a great start here in Roland Garros, great match.

“You know, in the third set I was in trouble a little bit. But, yeah, at the end he played a good level so I’m really, really happy to get through the first round.”

The top-seeded Spaniard applied his all-court skills winning 18 of 20 trips to net improving his 2023 record to 31-3.

Contesting his third career Roland Garros, Alcaraz will play Japanese baseliner Taro Daniel in round two.

World No. 112 Daniel dismissed Christopher O’Connell 6-0, 6-2, 6-4 for his first French Open win since 2017.

Launching his hunt for a fifth title on the season, Madrid champion Alcaraz was commanding for two sets. Alcaraz failed to convert three match points on Cobolli’s serve at 5-3 then dropped serve for the only time in the 10th game. Alcaraz responded winning the final two games for his 21st victory in 23 clay-court matches this season.

On a day in which 22-time Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic defeated American major debutant Aleksandar Kovacevic 6-3, 6-2, 7-6(1) raising his Roland Garros first-round record to a flawless 19-0 on Court Philippe Chatrier, Alcaraz also beat an opponent major his major debut on what is likely the Spaniard’s lone match on Court Suzanne Lenglen.

Bursting out of the blocks quickly, Alcaraz snatched 25 of the first 35 points dishing out an opening-set bagel.