(Barcelona) Carlos Alcaraz started his run on the right foot at the Barcelona Tennis Open on Tuesday after easily beating Portugal’s Nuno Borges 6-3, 6-1.

The 19-year-old Spaniard will attempt to successfully defend a first career title on the ATP Tour this week. And Alcaraz made sure to send a strong message to their next opponents, having displayed all their power against Borges, 79th player in the world.

The No. 2 player in the world was also effective on return in the duel that lasted 63 minutes, and he converted five of his seven break points to improve his record to 19-2 so far this season.

Tournament favorite Alcaraz already triumphed in Buenos Aires and Indian Wells earlier this year. He is sure to face one of his compatriots in the third round, since Roberto Bautista Agut must cross swords with Bernabe Zapata Miralles at the end of the day on the Pista Rafael Nadal.

Earlier on Tuesday, it wasn’t easy, but Casper Ruud earned his bye to the quarter-finals by beating American Ben Shelton 6-2, 7-6 (1).

The Norwegian ended the second-round duel after 70 minutes, despite the American overcoming a 3-5 deficit in the second set to force a tiebreaker. This victory of the third player in the world on Catalan clay allowed him to level his career record at 1-1 against the 20-year-old left-handed tennis player.

“He played well, as did I,” Ruud said after the duel. I played a flawless first set, and he made some costly mistakes… But the second set was much tougher; the exchanges were much higher.

“It can get difficult. In the first set you get a multitude of points on a silver platter, then suddenly he started to be completely tight defensively. It’s hard to adapt to someone who turns like that in the middle of a game, but I’m happy that I kept my composure and had a really good tiebreaker.” he concluded.

Ruud quickly took control of the match by exploiting his excellent first serve and powerful forehand, jostling Shelton relentlessly.

The 24-year-old then used his experience – he’s been runner-up in nine clay-court tournaments so far in his career – to stem the rise of the No. 37 in the world in the second set. Ruud erased four of the five break points offered to his opponent, who was playing only a fifth career game on this playing surface.

Ruud will face the winner of the duel between 15th seed Francisco Cerundolo and Italy’s Francesco Passaro in the quarter-finals. The Norwegian, who also advanced to this stage of the competition at Barcelona last year, will be hoping to build on his momentum after winning the title at Estoril earlier this month.

In addition, Diego Schwartzman easily took the measure of China’s Wu Yibing 6-2, 6-2. The Argentinian will now cross swords with the fourth seed, the Italian Jannik Sinner.

Other players who triumphed on Tuesday included 10th seed Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, Belgian David Goffin, Argentinian Pedro Cachin, Colombian Emilio Gomez, Italian Matteo Arnaldi and Russian Alexander Shevchenko.

American Frances Tiafoe (no. 5) will also be in action on Tuesday. As for the Ontarian Denis Shapovalov, he should start his course in Barcelona on Wednesday, against the Slovak Jozef Kovalik.