Top of the world: Carlos Alcaraz plays a return to Albert Ramos-Vinolas on Saturday

Rome (AFP) - Carlos Alcaraz guaranteed a return to the world number one spot on Saturday when he took to court to play fellow Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the second round of the Italian Open.

The 20-year-old will overtake Novak Djokovic in the ATP rankings and is now assured of the top seeding at the French Open later this month.

Djokovic arrived in Rome with a five-point lead over Alcaraz, but as the defending champion the Serb will drop points during the tournament.

Alcaraz is not defending any points, and earns ten by beginning his opening match in the Italian capital, enough to put him on top of the rankings.

The Spaniard became the youngest ever world number one thanks to his US Open triumph last September, with Djokovic denied entry to the United States because of his Covid vaccination status.

Alcaraz will begin his 23rd week at world number one on May 22 and has a chance to leave Rome with a sizable lead.

The second seed arrived in the Italian capital on a fine run after back-to-back clay court titles in Barcelona and Madrid.