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Spanish tennis star Carlos Alcaraz praised Nikoloz Basilashvili after surviving a tricky opener in Madrid.

On Tuesday, No. 7 seed Alcaraz defeated world No. 27 Basilashvili 6-4 7-5 in the Madrid second round. 

Basilashvili claimed the first break of the match as he took an early 3-1 lead. 

After falling down by an early break, Alcaraz quickly recollected as he broke Basilashvili in the fifth, seventh and ninth games to overturn the deficit and win the first set.

Basilashvili bounced back from losing the first set as he led 5-3 in the second set and put himself in a good position to force a decider. 

When the time came for Basilashvili to close out the second set, he collapsed as Alcaraz claimed breaks in the 10th and 12th games to win four games in a row and escape with a straight-set win.

Alcaraz on beating Basilashvili

"I think I played really well. This is a tough opponent. He plays really hard," Alcaraz said, per the ATP Tour website. "I think that the first match in every tournament is tough, but I was focused from the beginning to the end and I'm really happy to get into the next round."

Last year, Alcaraz suffered a 6-1 6-2 loss to Rafael Nadal in the Madrid second round. 

12 months later, Alcaraz is a Masters champion and a top-10 player. 

After beating Basilashvili, Alcaraz reflected on what changed over the last 12 months. 

"I think I'm more mature now," Alcaraz reflected. "One year is not too much time to get mature but I think I'm a different player, different person now. I manage the nerves better than before and I think now I'm ready to play these kinds of matches in these kind of stadiums in front of a lot of people. I'm feeling comfortable in these types [of matches]."

Alcaraz and Nadal could potentially meet in the Madrid Masters quarterfinal.


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