Carlos Alcaraz defeats Emil Ruusuvuori in the Madrid Open 2023 final.
Top seed Carlos Alcaraz survived a scare from Finland’s Emil Ruusuvuori to begin his defense of the Madrid Open title with a hard-fought comeback victory.
Alcaraz of Spain, who turns 20 next week, overcame a poor start to defeat the world number 41 2-6 6-4 6-2.
With Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal out due to injury, Alcaraz is the favorite to win the Masters 1000 event on Madrid’s clay.
Alcaraz, who won the Barcelona title last week, will next face Grigor Dimitrov.
Bulgaria’s Dimitrov, seeded 26th, defeated France’s Gregoire Barrere in the second round, 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (7-2).
Russian fifth seed Andrey Rublev advanced to the last 32 with a 6-2 6-4 victory against Swiss veteran Stan Wawrinka, but Norway’s Casper Ruud, seeded third, was defeated 6-3 6-4 by Italian qualifier Matteo Arnaldi.
Ruud, who reached the French Open and US Open finals last year, has only won back-to-back matches once this year, at the Estoril Open.
Meanwhile, Andy Murray, the former world number one from the United Kingdom, has been awarded a wildcard for next week’s clay-court ATP Challenger event in Aix-en-Provence.
Murray, 35, lost to Italian qualifier Andrea Vavassori in the first round of the Madrid Open on Thursday and needs clay matches to prepare for the French Open, which begins on May 28.
Heather Watson defeated Harriet Dart 3-6 6-4 6-2 in an all-British match to reach the semi-finals of an ITF event in Corsica, the level below the main WTA Tour.