BEIJING: Top seeds Carlos Alcaraz and Aryna Sabalenka both breezed into the next round of the China Open with routine victories on Sunday.
Alcaraz sealed a place in the men´s quarter-finals with a smooth 6-2, 6-2 victory over Italy´s Lorenzo Musetti in Beijing.
The world number two overpowered his opponent and seized the first set when Musetti whacked a baseline backhand into the net. The Spaniard then broke serve twice in the second set and saw out a comfortable match with an unreturned serve.
He will next face Casper Ruud after the world number nine came back to beat Argentina´s Tomas Etcheverry 1-6, 7-5, 7-6 (9-7). "I feel great, honestly. It was a good performance against a really tough opponent," Alcaraz said at a post-match press briefing.
"(My level) didn´t (go) up and down. I stayed at a high level, high quality, during the whole match," the 20-year-old said. A sticking point in the tournament´s early rounds has been the match balls, which Alcaraz´s main challenger Daniil Medvedev described on Saturday as "like a grapefruit".
Alcaraz said Sunday he had also felt the distinct quality of the balls -- allegedly quick to fluff up -- "since day one". "It´s something tough, but tennis players have to get used to the balls in every tournament," he said in response to a question from AFP. "Here, in just one or two games, the balls become really different from (when they´re) new. It´s a kind of different (style of) play," he said.