Carloz Alcaraz shines in the absence of Rafael Nadal to give Spain a 2-0 lead over Romania

Alcaraz, 18, ranked 19th in the world, beat the experienced Marius Copil 6-4, 6-3 on the clay courts of Marbella.

Paris: Teenager Carlos Alcaraz made a stunning start to his Davis Cup career on Friday, helping six-time champions Spain take a comfortable 2-0 lead over Romania on the opening day of their qualifier .

Alcaraz, 18, ranked 19th in the world, beat the experienced Marius Copil 6-4, 6-3 on the clay courts of Marbella.

“I was nervous, but no more than usual. Having an experience like this in the Davis Cup helps you grow as a player and as a person,” said Alcaraz widely regarded as the Spanish heir to Rafael Nadal who skipped this meeting.

“I try not to put pressure on myself to be the future of Spanish tennis, the world number one or the best player, as many people tell me. I don’t give it more importance than it has none and I am the path that the team and I have set ourselves.”

In Round 1, 15th-ranked Roberto Bautista Agut was equally confident, earning a 6-3, 6-1 victory over Gabi Adrian Boitan, who stood out with his modest 721 finish.

France, 10-time Davis Cup champions, also opened a 2-0 lead over Ecuador in Pau.

World No. 59 Arthur Rinderknech beat No. 144-ranked Emilio Gomez 6-2, 7-5 before No. 58-ranked Adrian Mannarino beat Roberto Quiroz, who played well above his 381.6 ranking -4, 4-6, 6-1. .

Canada, without ninth-seeded Felix Auger-Aliassime and world number 13 Denis Shapovalov, slipped to a 2-0 deficit against the Netherlands in The Hague.

Botic Van de Zandschulp beat Alexis Galarneau 7-5, 7-6 (11/9) while Tallon Griekspoor beat Steven Diez 6-4, 6-4.

Aussies, Square Hungary

Twelve Davis Cup matches are played on Friday and Saturday, with the winners advancing to the final, the first leg of which will be played in September with 16 teams.

Croatia, Great Britain and Serbia have already moved on, with Davis Cup chiefs set to decide next week who will replace defending champions Russia after they were sacked following the invasion of Ukraine.

Alex de Minaur got 28-time champions Australia off to a flying start at Syndey but Thanasi Kokkinakis couldn’t keep the momentum going as they split their first singles matches with Hungary.

World number 30 De Minaur was pushed hard by young Hungarian number two Zsombor Piros, ranked 240, before winning 7-5, 6-2.

Almost seven years since his last appearance at the Davis Cup, Kokkinakis was recalled after winning a maiden ATP singles title in Adelaide in January and then claiming the Australian Open doubles crown with Nick Kyrgios.

But the bet did not pay off, as he lost 7-6 (7/4), 1-6, 6-3 to Marton Fucsovics, 35th.

Alexander Zverev, who reversed his decision not to play in the Davis Cup, gave Germany a 1-0 lead over Brazil in Rio with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Thiago Seyboth Wild.

World number three Zverev is playing for the first time since being disqualified from the Acapulco ATP event last month for smashing his racket against the referee’s chair.

Thiago Monteiro leveled the hosts with a 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 win over Jan-Lennnard Struff.

Filip Horansky was an unlikely star for Slovakia against Italy in Bratislava.

20th-ranked Horanksy was drafted at the last minute when Alex Molcan tested positive for Covid-19, but he stunned world number 21 Lorenzo Sonego 7-6 (7/2), 6-3 to save his first career Davis Cup singles victory.

Jannik Sinner, the world number 11, had earlier given Italy the lead, beating Norbert Gombos 6-4, 4-6, 6-4.

2016 champions Argentina led the Czech Republic 2-0 on three occasions in Buenos Aires after Sebastian Baez beat Jiri Lehecka 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 and Diego Schwartzman recovered to take the top over Tomas Machac 2-6, 6-2, 6-3.

“The Davis Cup is different,” said Baez, 21, who was making his debut. “The butterflies you have in your stomach are not the same as in other tournaments”.

In Reno, Nevada, the 32-time champion USA took a 2-0 lead over Colombia.

Sebastian Korda gave the Americans the first singles match with a three-set victory over Nicolas Mejia, winning 6-4, 1-6, 6-4.

Taylor Fritz then edged Alejandro Gonzalez 6-1, 6-0 to let the hosts control the game.

Reverse doubles and singles of all matches are played on Saturdays.

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