Carlos Alcaraz wins in 3 sets in opener at Barcelona Open

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BARCELONA, Spain — Playing on home soil for the first time in nearly a year, Carlos Alcaraz defeated Soonwoo Kwon 6-1, 2-6, 6-2 in his opening match at the Barcelona Open.

The 11th-ranked Spaniard, seeking his third title in 2022, improved to 19-3 this season. He was coming off an early exit in Monte Carlo after winning in Rio de Janeiro and Miami.

The 18-year-old Alcaraz hadn’t played in Spain since losing to idol Rafael Nadal in the round of 32 of the Madrid Open last May.

“It was tough to keep up with the score in the second set,” Alcaraz said after beating his 71st-ranked opponent from South Korea. “I think he started to play really well. And then I (started) very well at the third.”

The fifth-seeded Alcaraz will next face countryman Jaume Munar, who defeated ninth-seeded Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-1, 6-4.

Top-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas was 1-0 up in the first set when his match against 44th-ranked Ilya Ivashka had to be suspended because of rain.

Third-seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime earned his second clay-court win of the year by defeating Spanish qualifier Carlos Taberner 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 in the second round, improving to a career-best 15-4 record in 2022 after winning his maiden title in Rotterdam and reaching the final in Marseille.

“It was unfortunate that I lost my rhythm a little bit in the second set, lost my serve too many times, but I credit him also for defending well, showing a great level for a clay-court player,” Auger-Aliassime said.

He will next face American Frances Tiafoe, who got past Bolivian qualifier Hugo Dellien 7-6 (3), 6-1.

Eighth-seeded Pablo Carreno Busta defeated qualifier Bernabe Zapata Miralles 6-3, 6-3 in an all-Spanish match, while Marton Fucsovics beat veteran Federico Delbonis 6-2, 6-1.

Alex de Minaur defeated Ugo Humbert 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.

Alycia Parks reaches 1st WTA quarterfinal in Ostrava

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OSTRAVA, Czech Republic — American qualifier Alycia Parks is having quite the breakthrough tournament in Ostrava.

The 21-year-old Parks earned her first win against a top-10 ranked opponent by beating fourth-seeded Maria Sakkari 5-7, 7-5, 7-5 at the Agel Open on Thursday to reach her first WTA Tour quarterfinal.

The 144th-ranked Parks ousted former No. 1 Karolina Pliskova in the opening round – her first win against a top-20 opponent – and showed off her power by hitting 59 winners against Sakkari, compared to just nine for her opponent.

“I came out here not expecting anything, just playing my game, and it got me through the match,” Parks said.

Parks will next face former French Open champion Barbora Krejcikova, who advanced via walkover when Belinda Bencic withdrew with a left foot injury.

Caty McNally, another American qualifier who is playing doubles with Parks in Ostrava, also reached the last eight by beating wild-card entry Karolina Muchova 6-1, 3-6, 6-1. McNally is also into her first WTA quarterfinal and will face top-ranked Iga Swiatek, who advanced Wednesday.

Djokovic beats Van de Zandschulp to reach Astana quarters

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ASTANA, Kazakhstan — Add Botic van de Zandschulp to the long list of players to have been schooled by Novak Djokovic.

Djokovic eased past Van de Zandschulp 6-3, 6-1 on Thursday in his first career meeting with the 27-year-old Dutchman to reach the quarterfinals of the Astana Open.

Van de Zandschulp earned one break point in each set but couldn’t seriously threaten Djokovic, who is looking for a second straight indoor hardcourt title after winning in Tel Aviv last week.

“(In the) second set I think I started to read his serve better and just started swinging through the court more,” Djokovic said. “Botic is a quality tennis player. When he has time, he can hurt you, so I tried to take away that time from him and I’m very pleased with the way I played, particularly in the second.”

Djokovic will next face Karen Khachanov, who rallied to beat Marin Cilic 2-6, 6-3, 6-3. If the 21-time Grand Slam champion gets past that one, he could come up against fellow former No. 1 Daniil Medvedev. The second-seeded Russian beat Emil Ruusuvuori of Finland 6-3, 6-2 to move one match away from a potential rematch of last year’s U.S. Open final, when Medvedev beat Djokovic to deny his attempt at a calendar-year Grand Slam.

Medvedev will first have to beat Roberto Bautista Agut, who advanced Wednesday.