Carlos Alcaraz avoids shock defeat at Madrid Open after battling past Emil Ruusuvuori
Carlos Alcaraz avoided a shock loss at the Madrid Open after a shaky start but eventually beat Emil Ruusuvuori 2-6 6-4 6-2. The young Spaniard thrilled his home fans last year by defeating Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal on his way to the title, establishing himself as not just the future but the present of men's tennis. He was in brilliant form last week as he successfully defended his Barcelona Open title but looked on the way out early in Madrid before turning the match around to win. Errors flowed from the Alcaraz racket during the first set against powerful Finn Ruusuvuori, ranked 41. Normally so composed, the 19-year-old threw his racket in frustration early in the second set but the turning point came in a long sixth game where he saved five break points before eventually holding. He broke the Ruusuvuori serve in the next game and did not look back, going on to dominate the deciding set and move through to a clash with Grigor Dimitrov, who defeated Gregoire Barrere. Casper Ruud's troubles continued, though, the third seed suffering another early defeat, this time losing 6-3 6-4 to Italian qualifier Matteo Arnaldi. Fifth seed Andrey Rublev edged out Stan Wawrinka 7-5 6-4 while fellow Russian Karen Khachanov was a 6-3 3-6 6-3 winner against Thiago Monteiro. Meanwhile, Andy Murray has reacted to the disappointment of his defeat by Andrea Vassavori on Thursday by taking a wild card into next week's Challenger tournament in Aix-en-Provence.
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