Carlos Alcaraz is kickin’ grass…
Improving match by match on the grass courts of the Cinch Championships, the 20-year-old Spanish tennis player defeated Sebastian Korda 6-3, 6-4 on Saturday to move into his first final on the surface.
With a victory against Alex de Minaur in Sunday’s final at The Queen’s Club in London, Alcaraz would reclaim the top spot in the ATP Rankings from Novak Djokovic and secure the No. 1 seed at Wimbledon. Through to his 14th tour-level final, he is seeking his 11th title.
“Right now I feel like I’m playing for 10 years on grass, it’s something crazy for me,” said Alcaraz, who is playing just his third tournament on the surface and entered London with a 4-2 grass-court record. “I didn’t expect to adapt my movement, my game so fast on grass. I’m really happy with that.”
Alcaraz’s win against World No. 32 Korda improved his record to 27-1 against players outside the Top 20 this season. He has reached at least the semifinals in eight of the nine tournaments he’s played on the year.
After winning a dramatic opening set that featured a combined three breaks of serve on 13 chances, Alcaraz won the only break point of the second set. He converted three of his nine break chances overall, saving four of five break points against him in the opening set.
Korda was plagued by six double faults, including several at key moments in the first set. The American’s slice was also punished by Alcaraz, the top seed running around it and crushing forehands at every opportunity.
“I’m playing great, I’m feeling great,” Alcaraz assessed, saying that this was the best match of his young grass-court career. “I’m really happy to play here in Queen’s. Since the first match, I feel the love from the crowd. I would say that it’s impossible to win these kind of matches without them, without the energy they bring to me.”
Alcaraz will again rely on that energy in the final against De Minaur, who beat Holger Rune 6-3, 7-6(2) earlier on Saturday. The pair’s lone previous ATP Head2Head meeting was a classic in last year’s Barcelona semifinals. In a three-hour, 40-minute thriller, Alcaraz saved a pair of match points in a 6-7(4), 7-6(4), 6-4 victory en route to the title on home soil.
“It’s going to be a big challenge for me. His game is really good on grass,” Alcaraz said of the final matchup. “He serves so flat. He’s going to be very dangerous here on grass.
“But I think about myself, I’m thinking about my game. I will try to put my game in the match. I will try not to think about the opponent. Just enjoy the final, enjoy playing here and let’s see what happens.”
De Minaur could reach a new career-high ATP ranking of No. 14 with victory in the final. Korda, behind his run to the semis, will move to a new high of World No. 25 on Monday.