Rafael Nadal will compete at the home Masters 1000 event in Madrid for the 18th straight time this week, facing the 17-year-old compatriot Carlos Alcaraz in the second round on Wednesday. Nadal made the Madrid Open debut in 2003 at 17, losing to Alex Corretja in three sets.
Nadal toppled Davide Sanguinetti in the first round in style a year later, becoming the youngest player with the Madrid Open victory. Seventeen years after Rafa, super talented Carlos Alcaraz went even further, celebrating his first Caja Magica triumph at 17 years and stealing the age record ahead of his idol and the next opponent!
Carlos will face Rafa on his 18th birthday, battling against the 20-time Major winner and hoping for a good result after a dominant 6-4, 6-0 triumph over Adrian Mannarino in 71 minutes on Monday. A teenager was too good behind the initial shot, losing ten points in eight service games and avoiding troubles to pressure the Frenchman.
Mannarino was far from those numbers, giving away over half of the points behind the initial shot and losing serve four times to push the Spaniard over the top and towards the record. Carlos fired 24 winners and 17 unforced errors, holding the strings of the encounter in his hands and reducing his rival to only a couple of winners.
Alcaraz moves ahead of Rafael Nadal as Madrid's youngest match winner.
The Spaniard forged the advantage in the shortest and more extended exchanges, gathering an early lead in the opener and storming over Mannarino in set number two.
Alcaraz broke a left-hander in the opening game and cemented the advantage when Adrian sprayed a forehand mistake in game two. The Frenchman saved two break points at 0-2 to get his name on the scoreboard, although he couldn't do much on the return.
Alcaraz built a 5-3 advantage with three easy holds and wasted a set point on the return in game nine following Mannarino's forehand winner. Serving at 5-4, the Spaniard placed a backhand crosscourt winner in game ten for 6-4, hoping for more in set number two.
The youngster broke at love at the beginning of the second set to gain more boost and held with a forehand winner for a 2-0 advantage. Mannarino suffered another break in game three and fell 5-0 down when Carlos landed a forehand winner in game five.
Serving for the victory, a teenager brought the sixth game home with a forehand winner to celebrate the first Masters 1000 triumph and set the clash against his idol Rafael Nadal.