UMAG, Croatia (AP)Top-seeded Carlos Alcaraz eased past Norbert Gombos 6-2, 6-3 to start the defense of his first ATP title at the Croatia Open on Thursday.
The 19-year-old Spaniard became the second-youngest player this century to break into the top five in the rankings, which were announced Monday. Only Rafael Nadal did it at a younger age since 2000.
The fifth-ranked Alcaraz, who lost in the final at the Hamburg European Open last week to Lorenzo Musetti, broke Gombos four times while saving all seven break points he faced.
Alcaraz and Nadal are tied for most ATP titles this year – four.
He will play Facundo Bagnis in the quarterfinals. The Argentine beat French qualifier Corentin Moutet 6-3, 6-1.
Franco Agamenone upset fourth-seeded Sebastian Baez 3-6, 6-1, 7-5 for his second ATP main draw victory while fellow Italian qualifier Marco Cecchinato upset eighth-seeded Musetti 6-4, 6-3.
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