Carlos Alcaraz took the court for the first time since winning his third major title at Roland Garros and made a nearly seamless transition from clay to grass, defeating Francisco Cerundolo, 6-1, 7-5 to reach the second round of the cinch Championships at Queen’s Club.

The top seed increased his winning streak to eight in a row after winning the final five games over the in-form Argentine, advancing in 81 minutes on Center Court Tuesday afternoon.

Alcaraz has compiled a remarkable season in spite of moments of injury and inconsistency, shaking off a forearm issue that forced him out of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia to take home the Coupe de Mousquetaires in Paris, rallying from two sets to one down to deny Alexander Zverev his first Grand Slam title in five on the terre battue. Strong as he appeared on clay, the 21-year-old has been unbeatable on grass in the last 12 months, winning back-to-back titles in Queen’s Club and Wimbledon in 2023.


The defending champion returned to Queen’s against an tricky opponent in Cerundolo, who nearly defeated Novak Djokovic in Paris earlier this month. While his early career saw his best results come on clay, the 25-year-old has proven more than capable of adapting his game to quicker surfaces with a run to the 2022 Miami Open semifinals and an Eastbourne title coming on grass last summer.

Despite the formidable resume, Cerundolo was overwhelmed by Alcaraz on the outset; the Spaniard roared through the opening set and won the first five games before the Argentine could get on the board. Serving out the first set in 29 minutes, Alcaraz appeared on course for an emphatic win before Cerundolo began turning the tables.

Breaking serve to start the second, Cerundolo steeled ahead to a 5-2 lead before an overpressing Alcaraz was able to reign in his unforced errors and get started on a comeback. Breaking Cerundolo as he served for the second set, Alcaraz saved three set points on his own serve to level proceedings before nabbing a second break of his own.

Serving for a spot in the second round, Alcaraz earned three match points behind a big serve and clinched the contest with another.

Alcaraz could face another tough opponent in the second round as he awaits the winner of Mariano Navone and Jack Draper, who is fresh off winning his first ATP title at the BOSS Open in Stuttgart last week.