Alcaraz Up & Running At Roland Garros
The 20-year-old Alcaraz is the top seed at a Grand Slam for the first time and the youngest 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 said. "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.
"It is not too good when losing your serve at 5-4," Alcaraz said. "But I had to overcome that and forget that. I think I forgot it really quick and I played a great level from 5-5."
The Spaniard is chasing a second Grand Slam title and first in Paris this fortnight, having triumphed at the US Open last year. He will continue his bid against Taro Daniel after the Japanese player beat Australian Christopher O’Connell 6-0, 6-2, 6-4.
With his one-hour, 58-minute victory, the 2022 quarter-finalist Alcaraz improved to 31-3 on the season. He has captured four tour-level trophies this year, including ATP Masters 1000 crowns in Indian Wells and Madrid.
Cobolli was making his Grand Slam debut after coming through qualifying. The World No. 159, currently seventh in the Pepperstone ATP Live Next Gen Race, was facing a Top 10 opponent for the first time and struck his forehand well at times, but struggled to cope with the World No. 1's all-court game.