The 19th seed defeated home favourite Mackenzie McDonald 6-3, 6-3 to reach the second round in the California desert, where he will next play countryman Roberto Bautista Agut or another American, J.J. Wolf. New World No. 1 Daniil Medvedev is looming in their section.
Alcaraz thrilled a packed Stadium 3 with his powerful baseline play against a motivated McDonald, who grew up in California and attended the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). The American battled hard, but Alcaraz, who was competing as a Top 20 player in tournament action for the first time, had just a bit more firepower in his one-hour, 35-minute victory.
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The 18-year-old converted five of his nine break points and rallied from a break down in the second set. McDonald had one slip of concentration when he contested a not-up call, which allowed Alcaraz to take advantage and sprint through the finish line.
The reigning Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals champion has won seven consecutive matches (9-1 on the year), including a run to the biggest title of his young career at the Rio Open presented by Claro, an ATP 500 played on clay. In Brazil, the Spaniard defeated three players who have reached the Top 10: Matteo Berrettini, Fabio Fognini and Diego Schwartzman.