World no. 32 Carlos Alcaraz made a winning debut at the ATP Next Gen Finals in Milan thanks to a 4-3, 4-2, 4-0 triumph over another player born in 2003, Holger Rune. The Dane claimed the fourth Challenger title of the season in Bergamo last week, and he stayed in touch in the opening set against the top seed in Milan before the Spaniard shifted into a higher gear to seal the deal in an hour and 15 minutes.
Carlos fired nine aces and dropped 12 points in eight service games, never facing a break point and breaking Holger three times to sail over the finish line. The Spaniard had 27 winners and 16 unforced errors, attacking the net and beating the opponent in the shortest and more advanced exchanges.
Rune got his name on the scoreboard in the encounter's second game with a service winner, and Alcaraz moved 2-1 up with a booming serve in the next one.
Carlos Alcaraz defeated Holger Rune in an hour and 15 minutes.
The Spaniard painted a forehand down the line winner in the fifth game and earned three set points on the return a few minutes later.
Holger fended them off with brave hitting to reach a tie break and boost his chances. Carlos grabbed a mini-break in the sixth point and forced the opponent's mistake at 5-4 to earn more set points. Rune saved those to lock the result at 6-6 before Alcaraz seized the sixth set point at 7-6 to take the opener after 34 minutes.
The Dane fired a forehand winner in the second set's third game to remain on the positive side before the Spaniard broke his serve at 2-2 with an efficient attack. Serving for the set in game six, Carlos landed a volley winner to clinch it 4-2 and move closer to the finish line.
Holger netted a smash at the beginning of the third set to experience a break and fell 3-0 down after a loose backhand in game three. Serving for the victory in the fourth game, Alcaraz sealed the deal with a volley winner and made an impressive debut at the ATP Next Gen Finals.
In the second match, the American Brandon Nakashima took down Juan Manuel Cerundolo 4-1, 3-4, 4-1, 4-0 in an hour and 28 minutes to join Alcaraz at the top of Group A. Nakashima lost 13 points behind the initial shot and never faced a break point, losing the second set in the tie break before storming over his opponent to oust him with four breaks of serve.