Carlos Alcaraz hopes to thrive on grass this summer after advancing at Queen’s
Carlos Alcaraz insisted he can challenge on the grass this summer despite needing a third-set tie-break to beat French journeyman Arthur Rinderknech at the cinch Championships.
The 20-year-old top seed and world number two was playing only his seventh match on the surface – and his first outside of Wimbledon – at Queen’s Club.
Lucky loser Rinderknech only found out he was playing the Spaniard shortly before midday after fellow Frenchman Arthur Fils, Alcaraz’s scheduled opponent, withdrew from the tournament.
But the 27-year-old almost knocked the headline act out, taking the first set and giving Alcaraz an uncomfortable afternoon before going down 4-6 7-5 7-6 (3) in just over two-and-a-half hours.
Alcaraz, the US Open champion who was playing his first match since losing to Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals at Roland Garros, said: “It has been a really tough match, he has played four or five matches on the grass and this was my first one.
“It was really difficult to adapt my game to the grass. For me it’s tough to play here, but Queen’s is a tournament I really wanted to play.
“I’ve never played a tournament except Wimbledon on grass and I wanted to play here. I watched this tournament on TV and I always thought it’s a really beautiful place to be. The crowd was amazing and the court is unbelievable.
“I couldn’t play tennis on grass at home but I practised the movement on grass. I practised here a little bit before the tournament and I felt really good, even though it was the first match.
“I would say I’m going to be better in the next round.”
Britain’s Liam Broady was denied a notable win after world number 46 Adrian Mannarino came from a set down to win in three.
Broady, ranked 97 places behind the Frenchman at 143, raced away with the first set but was pegged back in a 1-6 6-4 6-3 defeat.
Fellow Brit Ryan Peniston – who beat Ugo Humbert on Monday – will face second seed Holger Rune in round two after the Danish youngster won 7-6 (4) 7-6 (3) against Maxime Cressy for his first career victory on grass.
“It’s going to be fun,” said Rune, who lost to Peniston at Eastbourne last year.
“It’s always a challenge to play a home player. Hopefully the support will be good for both players.”