© Mike Lawrence/ATP Tour


The 18-year-old won his first tour-level title in Umag in July.


Japan’s Nishioka advances

#NextGenATP Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz began his Western & Southern Open qualifying campaign with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over Brazilian Thiago Monteiro on Saturday in Cincinnati.

The 18-year-old has risen from outside the Top 100 in the FedEx ATP Rankings to a career-high No. 54 this year, capturing his first tour-level title in Umag in July. Alcaraz is making his debut in Cincinnati and will next face Ilya Ivashka in the final qualifying round after the World No. 67 defeated American Mitchell Krueger 6-3, 3-6, 6-3.

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Fellow #NextGenATP star Lorenzo Musetti was unable to follow in Alcaraz’s footsteps though, falling to former World No. 5 Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-3 in 74 minutes. The 19-year-old, who forced Novak Djokovic to a fifth set in the fourth round at Roland Garros, has advanced to the semi-finals in Acapulco and the third round in Miami on hard this season.

Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka booked his spot in the second qualifying round with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Egor Gerasimov, while American Tennys Sandgren downed Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 7-6(6), 6-1.

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World No. 56 Tommy Paul also advanced, overcoming 23-year-old Soonwoo Kwon 6-3, 6-2, with Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis cruising past Italian Gianluca Mager 6-4, 7-5. Later in the day, 15-time tour-level champion Richard Gasquet defeated Spaniard Fernando Verdasco 6-4, 6-0. He next faces Jaume Munar after the Spaniard beat Slovakian Norbert Gombos 6-2, 6-2.

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