Carlos Alcaraz Garfia of Spain plays a backhand back to Flavio Cobolli of Italy during their men’s singles match on day two of the Roland-Garros Open tennis tournament at Court Suzanne-Lenglen in Paris on May 29, 2023. | Photo Credit: AFP
World number one Carlos Alcaraz admitted he felt “invincible” at times during his straight-sets win over Italian qualifier Flavio Cobolli in the French Open first round on Monday.
The 20-year-old, the youngest top seed at Roland Garros since Bjorn Borg in 1976, swept to a 6-0, 6-2, 7-5 win over his 159th-ranked opponent.
US Open champion Alcaraz won the first eight games of Monday’s match and was comfortably two sets up in just 52 minutes.
In the first set alone, he let his overwhelmed opponent by a paltry 10 points.
“I felt like I couldn’t lose a game. I thought I could win easier than I did, but a match can turn from game to game. But at the beginning of the match, I felt invincible,” he said.
Cobolli, making his Grand Slam debut, briefly rallied in the third set but was unable to capitalize on two break points in the sixth game.
Alcaraz saw four match points slip away as the Italian hung on to level at 5-5.
However, the Spaniard ended the tie with the fifth match point in the 12th game.
Next up for Alcaraz is a clash with Japan’s Taro Daniel for a spot in the last 32.
New York-born Daniel, ranked 112, enjoyed his best Slam at the 2022 Australian Open where he reached the third round from qualifying and beat former world number one Andy Murray in the round of 64 .
His best run in Paris was a second-round appearance in 2017.
Daniel thrived on the hard courts this year — reaching the quarter-finals in Acapulco and second rounds from qualifying in Indian Wells and Miami.
“I know Taro’s level, so it’s going to be a really tough second round, really tough match,” added Alcaraz.
“So I have to be ready for that, and I have to be ready for a really tough one.”