Alcaraz Returns To Winning Ways In Marbella
“I have played a great match and above all I have [played] with a very high intensity from the beginning to the end," Alcaraz said. "If I had to give myself a grade it would be a 9, because you can always play better."
The 17-year-old wild card earned his fifth match win of the year, and will now face fellow Spaniard and sixth seed Feliciano Lopez, who turned pro in 1997 - six years before Alcaraz was born. Lopez, 39, knocked out Taro Daniel of Japan 6-4, 6-4 in 87 minutes for a place in the Marbella second round.
Alcaraz raised his level in the tie-break, clinching the 56-minute opener after Milojevic hit a forehand into the net. Milojevic bounced back immediately, saving three break points en route to a 3-1 advantage, but the 25-year-old’s game soon deserted him.
World No. 133 Alcaraz is now 5-5 on the season, which includes beating David Goffin in the Great Ocean Road Open second round in February. The Spaniard advanced to the Australian Open second round as a qualifier, becoming the youngest player to earn a Grand Slam match win since Thanasi Kokkinakis, also 17, at the 2014 event in Melbourne.
Fifth-seeded Spaniard Alejandro Davidovich Fokina also advanced, rallying past Damir Dzumhur of Bosnia-Herzegovina 6-7(1), 6-2, 6-2 after two hours. The Next Gen ATP Finals alumnus broke serve six times to set a second-round clash against Belarusian Ilya Ivashka, who eliminated Pedro Martinez 6-3, 7-6(2).
"It's not easy to play the first match at home, [I was] a little bit nervous," Davidovich Fokina said. "I improved after the first set my game. I was more calm, more hungry to win the game. It was easier to do things."