Top of the world: Carlos Alcaraz plays a return to Albert Ramos-Vinolas on Saturday
Rome (AFP) - Carlos Alcaraz marked his return to the world number one ranking by comfortably seeing off fellow Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas 6-4, 6-1 in his first ever match at the Italian Open.
In-form Alcaraz ensured top spot just by taking to the court to play his second round match in Rome as he seeks a third straight tournament win.
The 20-year-old will overtake Novak Djokovic in the ATP rankings and is now assured of the top seeding at the French Open later this month.
The Spaniard became the youngest ever world number one thanks to his US Open triumph last September, with Djokovic denied entry to the United States because of his Covid vaccination status.
Alcaraz will begin his 23rd week at world number one on May 22.
The second seed arrived in the Italian capital on a fine run after back-to-back clay court titles in Barcelona and Madrid, and he made short work of Ramos-Vinolas.
He took control of the match in what turned out to be the final game of the first set, breaking Ramos-Vinolas to take the lead in what had been up to that point a hard-fought match.
From there Alcaraz went through the gears, unleashing a wide repertoire of shots which left Ramos-Vinolas bamboozled and set up a third round clash with either Jiri Lehecka or Fabian Marozsan.