Alcaraz Opens Title Defence with Battling win Over Lajal

Carlos Alcaraz opened his Wimbledon title defence with a hard-fought victory over Estonian qualifier Mark Lajal.

The Spaniard won 7-6 (7-3) 7-5 6-2 to begin proceedings on Centre Court.

Alcaraz is attempting to win back-to-back major titles after triumphing at the French Open last month.

"Stepping on this court, it is the most beautiful court I have played on," said the 21-year-old. "I still get nerves when I play here.

"I practised for 45 minutes on Thursday and it was the first time I was nervous on practice because I was playing on this court."

Lajal, 21, battled hard on his first appearance in a Grand Slam main draw.

"Honestly it surprised me a little bit because I haven't seen him playing or practicing too much," added Alcaraz.

"He has the level to go up a lot. He is really young, the same age as me, and I am sure I am going to see him more often."

Alcaraz will face either Australian Aleksandar Vukic or Sebastian Ofner of Austria in the second round.