#NextGenATP Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz battled into the third round on his US Open debut as he backed up his impressive opening-round victory against 26th seed Cameron Norrie by downing Frenchman Arthur Rinderknech 7-6(6), 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 on Wednesday.
The 18-year-old hit 40 winners and secured his victory in two hours and 57 minutes in a rain-disrupted match. He saved three set points from 3/6 in the first-set tie-break. Alcaraz, who was facing Rinderknech for the first time, will next play third-seeded Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas or Adrian Mannarino.
“It was a great match and performance from me,” Alcaraz said. “I feel I played really well throughout. Every player is tough. Reaching the third round is great for me and I am really happy.”
The Spaniard, currently No. 55 in the FedEx ATP Rankings, was ranked outside the Top 200 this time last year. However, Alcaraz has risen quickly, in June becoming the youngest man to reach the third round at Roland Garros since 17-year-old Andrei Medvedev in 1992, before capturing his maiden ATP Tour title in Umag in July.
It is the third tournament Alcaraz has competed in during the North American hard-court swing, having come through qualifying in Cincinnati reached the semi-finals in Winston-Salem.
Alcaraz began the US Open in fourth in the ATP Race To Milan and will be targeting a strong end to the season as he tries to qualify for the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals, which will be held in Milan from 9-13 November.
Molcan’s Mixed Motivations: Tigers, Buddha and Novak
Molcan is making his debut at Flushing Meadows this year, having edged through qualifying. The 23-year-old, who enjoyed a breakthrough run to his first ATP Tour final in Belgrade (l. to Djokovic) in May, broke Nakashima five times and struck 53 winners to secure his victory after three hours and 19 minutes. The World No. 138 will next face 11th seed Diego Schwartzman or former World No. 5 Kevin Anderson.
Netherlands’ Botic van de Zandschulp also advanced, hitting 50 winners en route to upsetting eighth seed Casper Ruud 3-6, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4. The World No. 117 will next face Facundo Bagnis after the Argentine defeated Marco Trungelliti 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.