Carlos Alcaraz recovered from a mid-match dip at Roland Garros on Wednesday to book his spot in the third round in Paris for the third consecutive year.
After clinching the opening set, the top seed suffered a loss of concentration in the second set against Taro Daniel. However, the 20-year-old quickly improved his level to advance past the Japanese star 6-1, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2.
Alcaraz, who is the top seed at a major for the first time, used his variety to pull Daniel around and showed smooth court coverage to improve to 32-3 on the season after two hours and 25 minutes.
“Taro was playing great. He is a really tough player and this year he has won matches against great players,” Alcaraz said. “The conditions were tough and it was really, really tough, but you have to adjust your game as best as you can. I was really focused on every shot. I played a great level and happy with the win.”
The World No. 1 is chasing his fifth tour-level title of the year and second major crown in Paris this fortnight. The 2022 US Open champion lifted trophies on clay in Madrid, Barcelona and Buenos Aires earlier this year, while he triumphed on hard in Indian Wells.
The Spaniard, who struck 46 winners against Daniel, will continue his title quest against Denis Shapovalov after the Canadian beat Italian Matteo Arnaldi 6-2, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.
“It is amazing to play here,” Alcaraz said. “I have felt the support on the first day and today as well. I am really happy to play on Philippe-Chatrier, feeling the energy and the support.”
Last year’s quarter-finalist Alcaraz is currently second in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin. The 20-year-old will climb to top spot if he wins his 11th tour-level title at the clay-court major after Live Race leader Daniil Medvedev suffered a shock first-round defeat on Tuesday.
British lefty Cameron Norrie also advanced, defeating Frenchman Lucas Pouille 6-1, 6-3, 6-3 to reach the third round for the third time. The 27-year-old is a potential fourth-round opponent for Alcaraz.
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