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Indian Wells champ Alcaraz begins Miami Open with 6-2, 6-1 win over over Carballés Baena

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Carlos Alcaraz, of Spain, hits a return to Roberto Carballes Baena, of Spain, during the Miami Open tennis tournament Saturday, March 23, 2024, in Miami Gardens, Fla. Lynne Sladky / AP

Indian Wells champion and second-ranked Carlos Alcaraz began his Miami Open campaign with an emphatic 6-2, 6-1 victory over fellow Spaniard Roberto Carballés Baena on Saturday night.

The 20-year-old Alcaraz, who is the reigning Wimbledon champion, dominated the match from start to finish with his impressive speed and agility. He saved all three break points he faced to pick up his seventh straight win.

Jannik Sinner advanced to the third round with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over fellow Italian Andrea Vavassori. The third-ranked Sinner, the Australian Open champion and last year's Miami Open runner-up, had to wait overnight to clinch the opening victory at Miami after rain forced a suspension of the match on Friday with Sinner leading 3-2.

"I think it's a lot of difference between here and anywhere else," Sinner said. "Here maybe the court suits me a little bit better because the ball is not that bouncy. But I feel just mentally quite free to play, and I think that's most important."

Andy Murray advanced to the third round with a 7-6, 6-3 victory over 29th-ranked Tomás Martín Etcheverry. That match was also suspended on Friday because of rain. Murray, who won the Miami title in 2009 and 2013, snapped a nine-match losing streak against top 50 players with the win and has now played 995 career tour-level matches.

"My body feels that," said Murray, who turns 37 in May, "It feels like I've played a thousand. I've obviously been on the tour a long time. My first matches on tour were just as I turned 18 years old ... It's been a long career but an amazing career."

In women's play, top-ranked Iga Świątek, coming off an Indian Wells title last week, defeated Camila Giorgi 6-1, 6-1 in just over an hour. The victory gave Świątek 81 wins in the first 100 matches of her career at the WTA-1000 level. Only Serena Williams (87) had more wins in her first 100 matches at that level.

Naomi Osaka continued her comeback journey by defeating 17th-ranked Elina Svitolina 6-2, 7-6 (5). Osaka, who is comng off a third-round loss at Indian Wells, now has two wins over top 20 opponents in her last four matches.

"I definitely do think it was one of my best matches (of the year), if not the best match," Osaka said. "But I also want myself to play better and better every match."

A day after rain and wind delayed the start of play and suspended several matches, downpours again pushed the start of Saturday's matches back by nearly three hours.

On a day with several upsets on the men's side, Brazil's Thiago Seyboth Wild stunned American Taylor Fritz 6-3, 6-4 to reach the third round. Numerous Brazilian fans were in attendance to watch their compatriot play, and they cheered so loudly that Fritz complained to the chair umpire.

Christopher O'Connell topped 22nd-ranked Francis Tiafoe 7-5, 7-6; 14th-ranked Tommy Paul appeared to roll his left ankle in the second set of his match against Martin Damm Jr. and was forced to retire; last year's Miami Open winner Daniil Medvedev advanced, beating Márton Fucsovics 6-4, 6-2.

In other action, fifth-ranked Jessica Pegula advanced to the second round after Zhu Lin retired with an illness while trailing 6-4, 4-1.


AP tennis:

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