Carlos Alcaraz notches 40th ATP Tour win of 2022

Carlos Alcaraz

Carlos Alcaraz notched his 40th win of the year when he trounced Norbert Gombos of Slovakia 6-2, 6-3 and began his Umag title defence in some style.

It’s something of a full circle moment for the Spaniard who won his maiden title at the Croatian clay court tournament in 2021.

Alcaraz has returned this year and does so as the youngest man to make the top five in the ATP Rankings since Rafael Nadal in 2005.

He insisted that the contest was a lot tougher than it appeared at first glance.

Alcaraz had to save seven break points during the course of the match against the lucky loser.

“It was a really tough match. It wasn’t as easy as the result seems,” said Alcaraz.

“Norbert played a really good game and the first round of every tournament is never easy, so I had to get used to the conditions. It was tough for me, but at the end I found a way to play better and get the win.”

Since his landmark victory over Richard Gasquet in the Umag final last year, the teenaged sensation has added four further titles to his collection, including ATP 1000 titles at Miami and Madrid.

Alcaraz’s win came after he suffered a surprise weekend loss in the Hamburg final against first-time titlist Lorenzo Musetti of Italy.

The 19-year-old is now 25-3 on clay this season and will face Argentina’s Facundo Bagnis on Friday for a place in the last four.

Alcaraz will be out to call on his Challenger Tour experience of facing Bagnis.

“I played against him [Bagnis] in Challengers, I remember we played tough matches,” said Alcaraz. “I know him so well, and he’s a great player on clay, so it’s going to be a really tough match, but I’m going to try to show my best.”

Musetti meanwhile suffered a shock defeat to compatriot and former top 20 player Marco Cecchinato.

Cecchinato is set for a quarter-final clash with another Italian qualifier in Franco Agamenone.

The 29-year-old Agamenone backed up his maiden ATP Tour victory against Laslo Djere in the first round in Umag with a 3-6, 6-1, 7-5 triumph against fourth seed Sebastian Baez.