Carlos Alcaraz cruises past Thanasi Kokkinakis in comeback match
Carlos Alcaraz showed no signs of the hamstring injury that has kept him out of action for the last two weeks as he blew past Thanasi Kokkinakis and into the Indian Wells Round of 32.
Alcaraz found his level quickly and dispatched the Australian 6-3, 6-3.
The Spaniard said after the match that he really enjoys playing at Indian Wells, which plays a little slower than some of the other hard court events.
“I feel really comfortable playing here, staying here. I felt the love since I came onto the court” Alcaraz said.
“I have great memories, I made my first semi-finals at a Masters 1000 here, had that match against Rafa… It’s so special to come back here.”
Alcaraz was on the money from the word go as he started well on serve and broke Kokkinakis at the first attempt, racing out to an early 3-0 lead.
The rest of the opening stanza went to serve and while Kokkinakis showed more fight in the second but another early break meant he was always chasing the game.
Nonetheless, Kokkinakis deserves credit for retaining his composure and leaning into his power game although the court coverage and defence of Alcaraz won the day.
Alcaraz says that he is trying not to think about rankings points given the imposing task ahead of him to simply break even across the Sunshine Double.
Alcaraz has set out to regain the No 1 spot but needs to reach the last four in Indian Wells and defend his Miami Open title or vice versa to break even across the four weeks.
He was happy with the level of his play after a spell on the sidelines.
“I would say I played my best, apart from everything: the points that I have to defend, the semi-finals that I have to defend,” the 19-year-old said.
“I tried not to think about that, just to play my game, to enjoy playing here. Of course I tried to make people enjoy watching tennis here… That’s what I liked from tonight.”
Alcaraz can snatch the No 1 ranking if he wins his third ATP 1000 title in Indian Wells.
He will face a stiffer test in the next round with his third round opponent being 31st seed Tallon Griekspoor, who defeated Guido Pella 7-6(3), 7-6(4) earlier in the day.
Alcaraz or Griekspoor will go on to face either Andy Murray or Jack Draper in the Round of 16.
Indian Wells results
Results at the Indian Wells ATP Masters 1000 hard court tennis tournament (x denotes seeded player):
Carlos Alcaraz (ESP x1) bt Thanasi Kokkinakis (AUS) 6-3, 6-3
Tallon Griekspoor (NED x31) bt Guido Pella (ARG) 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (7/4)
Jack Draper (GBR) bt Daniel Evans (GBR x24) 6-4, 6-2
Andy Murray (SCO) bt Radu Albot (MDA) 6-4, 6-3
Hubert Hurkacz (POL x9) bt Alexei Popyrin (AUS) 6-3, 6-3
Tommy Paul (USA x17) bt Jan-Lennard Struff (GER) 6-3, 6-3
Francisco Cerundolo (ARG x27) bt Jack Sock (USA) 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
Félix Auger-Aliassime (CAN x8) bt Pedro Martínez (ESP) 7-6 (7/5), 6-4
Taylor Fritz (USA x4) bt Ben Shelton (USA) 4-6, 6-4, 6-3
Sebastián Báez (ARG x30) bt Rinky Hijikata (AUS) 6-3, 6-1
Alex Molcan (SVK) bt Borna Coric (CRO x18) 6-3, 6-3
Márton Fucsovics (HUN) bt Alex De Minaur (AUS x16) 6-4, 6-2
Jannik Sinner (ITA x11) bt Richard Gasquet (FRA) 6-3, 7-6 (7/2)
Adrian Mannarino (FRA) bt Lorenzo Musetti (ITA x19) 6-4, 6-4
Stanislas Wawrinka (SUI) bt Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB x26) 7-6 (10/8), 6-4
Holger Rune (DEN x7) bt Mackenzie McDonald (USA) 7-5, 6-3
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