Carlos Alcaraz trumped Adrian Mannarino 6-4, 6-0 to reach the second round of Mutua Madrid Open. The Spaniard, who will celebrate his 18th birthday on Wednesday, has booked a dream clash against five-time champion Rafael Nadal in the next round. Notably, this is Alcaraz’s maiden ATP Masters 1000 victory in just his second event at the level. He made his Masters 1000 debut at the Miami Open in March.
The World No. 120 was unable to hide his emotions following his victory against Mannarino. “I am really, really happy. This is a special win for me here in Spain, here at La Caja Magica,” Alcaraz said in his post-match interview. “To win a Masters 1000 match here is amazing.”
Alcaraz will meet his countryman Nadal for the maiden time in the second round. Notably, both these Spaniards have met for a practice session ahead of this year’s Australian Open. He said it was a childhood dream for him to play Nadal.
“For me, to play against Rafa is a dream come true,” Alcaraz said. “Since I was a kid, I wished to play a match against Rafa and now I will be able to here [on] the Centre Court of La Caja Magica in Madrid. It is a really special match against Rafa.”
Alcaraz started the brighter of the two at the Manolo Santana Stadium. His quick start was rewarded with a 2-0 lead. Mannarino did show some fighting spirit as he matched Alcaraz toe-to-toe from there on, but the Murcia native maintained his lead to serve for the first set at 5-4.
The second set was a one-sided affair. The Spaniard breezed past his French counterpart with relative ease. Without dropping a game, he bagged the second set and the match along with it.
“I started the match a little bit nervous,” Alcaraz said. “I tried to play aggressive to get the nerves out and tried to enjoy playing here, in front of a big crowd in Madrid.”
Elsewhere, Fabio Fognini needed three sets to reach the next round. He prevailed over Spanish qualifier Carlos Taberner 7-6, 2-6, 6-3 in two hours and 15 minutes. The 33-year-old has booked a second-round clash against countryman Matteo Berrettini.