Alcaraz begins title defence with win at US Open

New York, (UNI) World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz began his title defense with a win following Dominik Koepfer’s retirement due to injury in the first round of the US Open on Tuesday.

Alcaraz, who defeated Casper Ruud of Norway in the final Last year, led 6-2, 3-2 when Koepfer sustained an ankle injury and opted to withdraw.

“I started pretty well. Really focused. Honestly, I didn’t expect to play at such a great level in the beginning, the first round, here in the US Open,” said Alcaraz.

The Spanish sensation will face off against South Africa’s Lloyd Harris in the next round, who emerged victorious against Guido Pella of Argentina with scores of 7-6 (5), 6-4, 6-4.

Third seed Daniil Medvedev easily advanced to the next round, trouncing Hungary’s Attila Balazs 6-1, 6-1, 6-0. Medvedev is set to play Australia’s Christopher O’Connell next.

China’s Wu Yibing reached the last 64 alongside compatriot Zhang Zhizhen. Wu, 23, fought hard against Dusan Lajovic of Serbia, clinching the match 3-6, 6-4, 2-6, 6-4, 6-2 after nearly three hours.

“I was prepared to face difficulties before the match, the opponent was in good form and I did a lot of targeted training,” Wu remarked. “I was calm when I was behind.”

On the women’s side, seven-time Grand Slam winner Venus Williams suffered a first-round exit after losing to Belgium’s Greet Minnen 6-1, 6-1.

The 43-year-old former world No. 1, entering as a wild card, has now fallen in her US Open debut for the third consecutive time.

Second seed Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus dominated Belgium’s Maryna Zanevska 6-3, 6-2, advancing to round two. The current Australian Open champion is set to compete against Britain’s Jodie Burrage next.

Meanwhile, China’s emerging talent, Zheng Qinwen, defeated Nadia Podoroska of Argentina 6-1, 6-0. In another upset, qualifier Wang Yafan toppled French contender Caroline Garcia 6-4, 6-1.

Remarkably, all seven singles participants from the Chinese mainland have progressed to the second round, setting a new benchmark for Chinese tennis.

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