(MENAFN- IANS) Paris, May 29 (IANS) Playing as the top seed in a Grand Slam for the first time, World No.1 Carlos Alcaraz of Spain wasted little time getting his title quest underway at the French Open on Monday when he raced past Italian Flavio Cobolli 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 to reach the second round.
Italian qualifier Cobolli put up a fight in the third set and saved three match points on his own serve to hold for 4-5 against Alcaraz, then broke the Spaniard to level for 5-5.
Alcaraz then nudged ahead with a break of serve for 6-5 and this time did not falter when serving for the victory, as he started his campaign on a winning note and booked a second-round meeting with Taro Daniel.
The 20-year-old Alcaraz is the youngest player to be given the top seeding in Paris since a then-19-year-old Bjorn Borg in 1976. The Spaniard showed little sign of nerves in his opening match, though, timing his clean groundstrokes perfectly to overpower the 21-year-old qualifier Cobolli in the baseline exchanges.
"It is great to play here. It is my first time on Suzanne-Lenglen and I enjoyed playing here," Alcaraz was quoted as saying on the ATP Tour website. "There was such great energy from the crowd and I came out with a great level."
Alcaraz showed off his variety on Court Suzanne-Lenglen by repeatedly pulling Cobolli around with the drop shot, while he survived an attacking bombardment from the 21-year-old in the third set.
The World No. 1 recovered from failing to serve out the match at 5-4, soaking up pressure to immediately break Cobolli's serve before advancing on his fifth match point.
He joins his top two rivals for the No.1 spot, Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas in the second round.
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