Alcaraz is cautious ahead of Madrid Open. The Spaniard is not 100% sure he will play

MADRID (AP) — Carlos Alcaraz is being cautious with his expectations at the Madrid Open and would be happy to play “three or four matches” in his return from injury.

Alcaraz said Tuesday he has trained well in recent days but didn’t want to fully confirm his participation at the ATP 1000 tournament in the Spanish capital where he is a two-time defending champion.

The third-ranked Alcaraz is coming off a right arm injury that kept him from playing in Monte Carlo and Barcelona. The Spaniard will try to win his first French Open title next month.

“Today I trained with a little more intensity and things went quite well,” Alcaraz said. “I don’t want to say 100% that I’ll play. With the sensations that I have right now, I’d be happy to play three or four matches.”

It would be Alcaraz’s first European clay-court event of the season. The 20-year-old Spaniard has a first-round bye and is scheduled to play Friday against either Alexander Shevchenko or Arthur Rinderknech.

“For me it’s really important to be at 100% here in this tournament,” Alcaraz said. “Playing here is so special. It’s the tournament where a lot of family can come to watch my matches, a lot of friends as well, and for me it’s really special to play in front of my home crowd as well.”

Top-seeded Jannik Sinner will open against fellow Italian Lorenzo Sonego. Sinner has never advanced past the third round in Madrid but started the year with a 25-2 record and three titles, including the Australian Open.

“I don’t want to put pressure on myself,” Sinner said. “I’m living a very positive moment, winning a lot of matches, I just try to keep going like this. In my mind, I know that I can and have to improve if I want to win more.”

Third-seeded Daniil Medvedev will face either Christopher O’Connell or Matteo Arnaldi in his opening match in Madrid. Medvedev, who is 19-5 this year, lost the Australian Open final to Sinner and the Indian Wells final to Alcaraz.

“I’m honestly feeling good,” Medvedev said. “I feel this every year, more and more when I go to clay courts.”

Five-time Madrid champion Rafael Nadal, continuing his return from injury ahead of the French Open, will debut against 16-year-old American Darwin Blanch.

In the first round of the women’s draw, Wang Xiyu defeated Ana Bogdan 6-7 (5), 7-6 (4), 6-2 in more than three hours to set up a second-round meeting with top-seeded Iga Swiatek, who is trying to win her first Madrid Open title.

Arantxa Rus rallied from 4-0 down in the first set to defeat 17-year-old Brenda Fruhvirtova 7-5, 6-3, while Alexandra Eala of the Philippines came back from a set down to beat Lesia Tsurenko 2-6, 6-4, 6-4 for her first victory at the WTA 1000 level. The result was also the 18-year-old’s first career win over a top 50 player.

In a rematch of the 2023 Bogota final, Tatjana Maria rallied from 3-0 down in the third set to defeat American Peyton Stearns 6-7 (4), 6-2, 7-6 (5).

Another American, Sofia Kenin, lost 6-3, 6-4 to Anna Karolina Schmiedlova.


AP tennis:

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