Next Gen ATP Finals Allianz Cloud, Milan | 9-13 Nov. 2021
Alcaraz Returns To Winning Ways In Marbella

Carlos Alcaraz earns his fifth match win of the year on Tuesday to advance to the Marbella second round. © Andalucia Open

#NextGenATP Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz was impressive on Tuesday in a 7-6(3), 6-3 victory over Serbian qualifier Nikola Milojevic in one hour and 38 minutes at the AnyTech365 Andalucia Open.

“I have played a great match and above all I have [played] with a very high intensity from the beginning to the end," Alcaraz said. "If I had to give myself a grade it would be a 9, because you can always play better."

The 17-year-old wild card earned his fifth match win of the year, and will now face fellow Spaniard and sixth seed Feliciano Lopez, who turned pro in 1997 - six years before Alcaraz was born. Lopez, 39, knocked out Taro Daniel of Japan 6-4, 6-4 in 87 minutes for a place in the Marbella second round. 

Alcaraz raised his level in the tie-break, clinching the 56-minute opener after Milojevic hit a forehand into the net. Milojevic bounced back immediately, saving three break points en route to a 3-1 advantage, but the 25-year-old’s game soon deserted him.

World No. 133 Alcaraz is now 5-5 on the season, which includes beating David Goffin in the Great Ocean Road Open second round in February. The Spaniard advanced to the Australian Open second round as a qualifier, becoming the youngest player to earn a Grand Slam match win since Thanasi Kokkinakis, also 17, at the 2014 event in Melbourne.

Fifth-seeded Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina also advanced, rallying past Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia-Herzegovina 6-7(1), 6-2, 6-2 after two hours. The Next Gen ATP Finals alumnus broke serve six times to set a second-round clash against Belarusian Ilya Ivashka, who eliminated Pedro Martinez 6-3, 7-6(2).

"It's not easy to play the first match at home, [I was] a little bit nervous," Davidovich Fokina said. "I improved after the first set my game. I was more calm, more hungry to win the game. It was easier to do things."

Another Next Gen ATP Finals alumnus from Spain, Jaume Munar, defeated Swiss qualifier Henri Laaksonen 6-4, 6-1 in 80 minutes and now plays second-seeded Italian Fabio Fognini.

Other players who advanced were Gianluca Mager, who won the ATP Challenger Tour event at this venue last week, and Argentine Facundo Bagnis, who ousted countryman Francisco Cerundolo 6-3, 7-6(2).