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 in his first ever match at the Italian Open on Saturday as the women’s draw lost its fourth top 10 player.
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, who saw off Ramos-Vinolas 6-4, 6-1, will overtake Novak Djokovic at the top of the ATP rankings and is now assured of the top seeding at the French Open later this month.
He came through in a match which started several hours late due to the pelting rain which drenched the Italian capital for much of the early part of Saturday.
“The conditions here weren’t easy, the rain, the waiting all day, not knowing if I was going to play or not. It was tough,” said Alcaraz.
He added: “For me it doesn’t change too much to be number one or number two seed. I just focus on the tournament and on my game.”
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.
- Osorio stuns Garcia -
Caroline Garcia became the latest big hitter to be dumped out of the women’s tournament after the world number four lost 6-4, 6-4 to outsider Camila Osorio.
Rain and shine: Camila Osorio in her match against Caroline Garcia
Qualifier Osorio almost broke down in tears after her shock straight sets victory in a match which started two hours late and was interrupted for more than an hour at the start of the second set.
A career-best win for world number 100 Osorio puts her in the last 16 of a WTA 1000 event for the first time in her career.
She will face either Beatriz Haddad Maia or Magda Linette in the next round.
“I literally have no words to describe what I’m feeling right now,” said Osorio on court.
“I’ve been struggling a little bit with my injuries and now that I’m back playing and beating the number four in the world I can’t believe it.
“I’m just super happy and proud about how I managed to stay calm and finish the match.”
Garcia joins world number two Aryna Sabalenka, third-ranked Jessica Pegula and world number seven Ons Jabeur in being dumped out of the tournament.
Andrey Rublev was one of the few lucky ones to escape the early rain, finishing off Alex Molcan 6-3, 6-4.