Carlos Alcaraz survived a very close encounter with qualifier Alexei Popyrin late Tuesday night in Winston-Salem. Alcaraz dropped the first set in a tie-break, then stormed to take the second set, 6-1. After conceding the first point in a decisive tiebreaker, the teenager reeled off seven straight points with a barrage of massive forehand winners to close with a bang.

The motivation level of players in Winston-Salem has always been a question mark due to the impending US Open, but based on his intensity level and reaction upon winning, it seems Alcaraz has title ambitions on the gritty hard courts in North Carolina.

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Fucsovics and Alcaraz will square off for the first time Wednesday.

Fucsovics and Alcaraz will square off for the first time Wednesday.

The talented teen will take on Marton Fucsovics in the third round in what will likely be an extremely late affair. According to the oddsmakers, this match is a straight pick-em.

It could obviously go either way, but I will be siding with the young legs in this matchup. Fucsovics hits a clean and heavy ball from both wings, but doesn’t necessarily hug the baseline when he plays. If the Hungarian sits back in the court and gives Alcaraz time to wind up his flawless forehand, the Spaniard should be able to pick his spots well.

He’s just 18, but barring injury, Alcaraz will likely have the best forehand on the ATP Tour in due time.

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According to UTR’s new predictive analytics tool, Alcaraz not only has a 55 percent chance to advance, but a 20 percent chance of capturing his second ATP title. Based on his dominant clutch ending against Popyrin, combined with the slower than normal courts this week, a bet on Alcaraz at even money is a solid play.

The Pick: Carlos Alcaraz