Carlos Alcaraz, of Spain, returns the ball to Thiago Seyboth...

Carlos Alcaraz, of Spain, returns the ball to Thiago Seyboth Wild, of Brazil, during the Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament in Madrid, Sunday, April 28, 2024. Credit: AP/Manu Fernandez

MADRID — Carlos Alcaraz continues to make a successful return from injury at the Madrid Open.

The two-time defending champion cruised past Thiago Seyboth Wild in the third round on Sunday to earn another comfortable win.

Alcaraz won 6-3, 6-3 for his second straight victory in his first tournament after skipping Monte Carlo and Barcelona because of an arm injury.

“I think I played at a really good level,” Alcaraz said. “Coming into this match I was nervous a little bit because I didn’t know how my forearm was going to be. Thiago has big shots. He is really strong. I am really happy with the performance. It was difficult a little bit at the end, at 5-0 and then serving at 5-3. I am really happy to get it at the end.”

The second-seeded Alcaraz had made his debut at the tournament with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Alexander Shevchenko.

Alcaraz had been scheduled to play at the Monte Carlo Masters and he also missed Barcelona to try to fully recover ahead of the French Open next month.

“I think I’m in a good shape right now. I’m not feeling anything in the forearm, and I played good tennis,” the 20-year-old Alcaraz said. “Obviously I’m not hitting my forehand on my 100% ... but I’m just focused to hitting the forehand as much relaxed as I can. I’m really happy to be competitive without pain.”

Carlos Alcaraz, of Spain, celebrates against Thiago Seyboth Wild, of...

Carlos Alcaraz, of Spain, celebrates against Thiago Seyboth Wild, of Brazil, during the Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament in Madrid, Sunday, April 28, 2024. Credit: AP/Manu Fernandez

No. 3-ranked Alcaraz is trying to become the first player to win three straight Madrid Open titles. He will next face Jan-Lennard Struff, his opponent in last year’s final in Madrid.

Andrey Rublev continued his return to form with a 7-6 (10), 6-4 win against Alejandro Davidovich Fokina. The world No. 8 arrived in Madrid coming off a four-match losing streak before defeating Facundo Bagnis in his opening match.

Tallon Griekspoor got his first top-20 win on clay on Sunday by defeating world No. 12 Holger Rune 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 to reach the fourth round at an ATP 1000 event for just the second time.

American Taylor Fritz, coming off an appearance in the final in Munich, defeated Sebastian Baez 6-2, 6-3, while Francisco Cerundolo picked up his first top-20 win of the season by beating 15th-seeded Tommy Paul 6-7 (7), 6-4, 6-2.

Carlos Alcaraz, of Spain, returns the ball to Thiago Seyboth...

Carlos Alcaraz, of Spain, returns the ball to Thiago Seyboth Wild, of Brazil, during the Mutua Madrid Open tennis tournament in Madrid, Sunday, April 28, 2024. Credit: AP/Manu Fernandez

SABALENKA ADVANCES

Second-ranked Aryna Sabalenka survived a tough test against 19-year-old American wild card Robin Montgomery, prevailing 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-4.

Sabalenka is trying to become the second woman to win three Madrid titles after triumphing in the Spanish capital in 2021 and 2023. Petra Kvitova won the Madrid Open in 2011, ‘15 and ’18.

Sabalenka will next face American Danielle Collins, who rallied to defeat Jaqueline Cristian 3-6, 6-4, 6-1 for her 15th straight victory. Collins went into the tournament having won the Charleston Open. and Miami Open.

Teenager Sara Bejlek beat Ashlyn Krueger 6-3, 6-1 while 16-year-old Mirra Andreeva made it to the last 16 for a second straight year with a 7-5, 6-1 win over seventh-seeded Marketa Vondrousova, the reigning Wimbledon champion.

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