World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz battled from behind to beat Jack Draper 3-6 6-2 7-5 in Basel to book his spot in the second round of the Swiss Indoors.
Alcaraz fell behind after the opening set as Draper broke twice and held to love in the final game.
The 19-year-old switched up his tactics in the second set to tighten up his ground game as he began to dictate the match, eventually levelling the scores to take the contest to a deciding set.
A tightly contested third set went to the wire as Draper hit back from 4-2 down to level.
Alcaraz broke for a 6-5 lead and closed out the win with his third match point after Draper had showed his fighting quality to stay alive.
Speaking after the match, Alcaraz said the court was “slow”, suggesting it didn’t suit his aggressive playing style and forced him into mistakes.
“At the beginning of the match it was tough, I made a lot of mistakes at the beginning,” he said.
“I wanted to play really aggressive, and this court for me is a little bit slower than the other tournaments, but obviously I had to handle that.
“Of course I changed my tactics a little bit in the second set, I know that Jack’s a really, really dangerous player and I had to be really focussed.”
Alcaraz won the US Open in September – his first major title – after he defeated Casper Ruud in the final.
He became world No. 1 after the tournament and his victory in Basel was his first as the top-ranked player, but the teenager admitted he hasn’t had much time to “enjoy” being top of the rankings, insisting he’s working towards “new goals”.
“It feels great [to be world No. 1] obviously, but I have tournaments so I have no time to try and enjoy it. After the US Open I now have new goals, so I have to be focused, I have to be prepared for the new challenges this year, but obviously it’s a great feeling.”
Alcaraz will face either Botic van de Zandschulp or Adrian Mannarino in the next round.
He remained on top of the latest ATP rankings released on Monday with 6,730 points, whilst Draper climbed to 45th which saw him overtake Andy Murray as the British No. 3.
Draper is now only behind Cameron Norrie and Dan Evans in the British rankings as he continues to enjoy an impressive year.