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Alcaraz rallies to beat Rinderknech in first round at Queen's Club

Carlos Alcaraz Carlos Alcaraz - The Canadian Press

LONDON (AP) — Carlos Alcaraz’s first grass-court match outside Wimbledon proved to be a tricky one.

Playing for the first time at the Queen's Club Championships, the top-seeded Alcaraz came from a set down Tuesday to win 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (3) against lucky loser Arthur Rinderknech — a No. 83-ranked Frenchman who only found out he was playing following the withdrawal of Arthur Fils a couple of hours before the match.

“It has been a really tough match,” Alcaraz said. “It was really difficult for me at the beginning to adapt my tennis, my game, to the grass.”

Alcaraz faced difficulties in dealing with the tall Rinderknech’s big serve and net coverage in what was the No. 2-ranked Spaniard’s seventh career match on grass, and first away from the All England Club.

Alcaraz rallied from going down a break early in the third set and dominated the tiebreaker, which started with an epic point that saw Alcaraz tumble to the ground after racing to the net to hit a cross-court winner.

The fourth point, which put Alcaraz 3-1 ahead, was also memorable because of his outrageous lob on the run that landed on Rinderknech's baseline and set up another forehand winner. Alcaraz then converted his third match point.

“For me, it’s tough playing here but I enjoy playing on grass and it’s a tournament I really wanted to play,” Alcaraz said.

It was Alcaraz’s first match since losing to Novak Djokovic in the French Open semifinals, after which he went to Spanish party island Ibiza.

Earlier at the Wimbledon warmup tournament, second-seeded Holger Rune of Denmark beat big-serving American Maxime Cressy 7-6 (4), 7-6 (3) for his first grass-court ATP win, after losing three in the first round last year — including at Wimbledon.

Britain's Andy Murray, on a 10-match winning run on the back of two straight grass-court Challenger Tour titles, lost 6-3, 6-1 to seventh-seeded Alex de Minaur of Australia. That all but ends his hopes of being seeded in the draw for Wimbledon, where he is a two-time champion.

Frances Tiafoe won his first match as a top-10 player by defeating Botic van De Zandschulp 6-2 6-4.

Tiafoe is seeded fourth in London after winning the grass-court Stuttgart Open title on Sunday to climb to a career-high spot of No. 10 in the rankings. Another American, third-seeded Taylor Fritz, beat Bernabe Zapata Miralles 6-4, 7-5.


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