Carlos Alcaraz’s imperious form in 2023 continues. Having already won titles at the Argentina Open and Indian Wells after his return from injury, the world No. 1 breezed past Facundo Bagnis in his opening match at Miami Open to get his title defence off to the ideal start.

Alcaraz, who beat Casper Ruud in the 2022 US Open final for his first No. 1 ranking, defeated Facundo Bagnis 6-0, 6-2 to advance to the third round in Miami.

“I knew that I needed to be focused for my first match,” Alcaraz said after the match.

“To start a new tournament is never easy. I have to be ready to get used to these new conditions, but I was really focused on the match from the beginning and I’m happy with the way that I played.”

He must defend his title in Miami to stay as the world’s top ranked player.

That is despite the absence of Novak Djokovic – who is not permitted to enter the US because of his Covid-19 vaccination status – as he requires the 1,000 ranking points that would accompany success to stay ahead of the Serb.

He will play Dusan Lajovic, who beat Britain’s Andy Murray on Wednesday, or Maxime Cressy next as he continues his bid to become the youngest man to complete the ‘Sunshine Double’ – winning Indian Wells and Miami in the same calendar year.

Ruud, who’s ranked No. 4, won his match against Ilya Ivashka 6-2, 6-3. He’ll face No. 26 Botic Van De Zandschulp on Sunday in the third round.

No. 1 American and No. 9 seed Taylor Fritz began his tournament campaign with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Emilio Nava. Fritz is 17-1 in his opening rounds of hard court tournaments since the start of 2022, with his only loss coming at the 2022 US Open to No. 303 Brandon Holt.

Fritz will next face No. 24 Denis Shapovalov, who defeated Guido Pella on Friday.

On the women’s side, No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka beat Shelby Rogers 6-4, 6-3 and extended her record to 4-0 versus Rogers. Sabalenka will face No. 31 Marie Bouzková in the third round.

Defending champion Iga Swiatek pulled out of the Miami Open on Wednesday because of a rib injury that she is hoping will heal during a break from competition.

Swiatek said her rib started bothering her after Thursday’s quarterfinal win at the BNP Paribas Open semifinals in Indian Wells, California. She also was feeling discomfort during Friday’s 6-2, 6-2 loss to eventual champion Elena Rybakina in the semifinals.

No. 5 Caroline Garcia lost to Sorana Cirstea 6-2, 6-3. Cirstea beat Garcia 10 days ago in the fourth round at Indian Wells, and will face Karolína Muchová next.

In other action, Varvara Gracheva defeated No. 4 Ons Jabeur 6-2, 6-2; and Jannik Sinner beat Laslo Djere 6-4, 6-2.

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