Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz youngest man to make French Open third round since 1992

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By AFP

PARIS: Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz became the youngest man to reach the French Open third round in 29 years on Thursday, racing to an impressive straight-sets win over 28th seed Nikoloz Basilashvili.

The world number 97, who only turned 18 last month, is the youngest since Andrei Medvedev in 1992 to get so far.

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Alcaraz achieved the feat in excellent style too, seeing off Georgia’s Basilashvili 6-4, 6-2, 6-4.

He will next face 42nd-ranked German Jan-Lennard Struff, who beat Facundo Bagnis 7-5, 7-6 (7/1), 6-4, looking to extend his run into the second week.

“It’s good. Obviously it’s good, the numbers, but I still focus on me,” said Alcaraz, who was born in 2003, the year Roger Federer won his first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon.

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“That means that I’m going the right way. I am doing the right things, and I keep this. I’m still growing up as a player and as a person, and that’s the important thing.”

Alcaraz had already become the youngest man to win a match at Roland Garros since Novak Djokovic in 2005 with his first-round success in four sets against Bernabe Zapata Miralles.

He was in even better form against the experienced Basilashvili, though, powering down 10 aces and hitting 27 winners in a match which lasted less than two hours.

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“Nikoloz is a really, really good tennis player. He has a lot of great skills,” added Alcaraz, who trains at former French Open champion Juan Carlos Ferrero’s academy.

“Even in the tough moments, you have to be focused and positive. That’s the good way.”

It has been a remarkable year for the youngster, who also reached the Australian Open second round on his Grand Slam debut in February.

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Alcaraz then made the same stage at the Madrid Open, where he celebrated his 18th birthday with a dream match against Rafael Nadal, although he did lose in straight sets.

He broke into the world’s top 100 for the first time shortly before this event, climbing from number 492 in January last year.

With Italian 19-year-olds Lorenzo Musetti and Jannik Sinner also winning on Thursday, it is the first time since 2001 that three teenagers have reached round three.

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Twenty years ago, the successful trio were 20-time major champion Federer, former world number one Andy Roddick and Tommy Robredo, who made the French Open last eight five times.

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