Marcel Granollers & Horacio Zeballos Win Barcelona Open for Sixth ATP Masters 1000 Title

Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos have added to their hardware collection.

The 38-year-old Spanish professional tennis player and 39-year-old Argentine professional tennis player beat Marcelo Arevalo and Mate Pavic 6-2, 6-2 for the men’s doubles title at the Barcelona Open.

Marcel Granollers & Horacio ZeballosIn the process, Granollers and Zeballos captured their sixth ATP Masters 1000 crown as a team on Sunday at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia.

In a rain-disrupted final, the top seeds were dominant throughout. They won 81 percent (26/32) of their first-serve points and saved both break points they faced, according to Infosys ATP Stats, to triumph after 69 minutes.

Granollers and Zeballos lead Arevalo and Pavic 2-0 in the teams’ Lexus ATP Head2Head series.

“It is always special to win a Masters 1000 title, so we are very happy with the way we played all week,” Granollers said. “It was unbelievable how we played.”

Granollers and Zeballos, who are joint No. 1 in the ATP Doubles Rankings, have now lifted the trophy in Rome twice, having also won in 2020.

“I think we are like wine,” Zeballos said. “We are getting older and we are getting better. We have a lot of confidence and have been playing well the last weeks and year.”

The Spanish-Argentine pair was dominant throughout their run in the Italian capital. They did not drop a set, defeating singles stars Alexander Bublik and Ben Shelton in the semifinals. Granollers has now won 26 tour-level doubles titles, while Zeballos has lifted 21.

Granollers and Zeballos are currently second in the ATP Live Doubles Teams Rankings.

They reached the title match at the ATP Finals last season.

Rafael Nadal Plans to Compete at This Year’s Laver Cup As Retirement Looms

Rafael Nadal is hoping to Laver the game on a special note…

The 37-year-old Spanish professional tennis player is planning to play at the Laver Cup in Berlin this September in what may be one of the 22-time Grand Slam champion’s last tournaments.

Rafael NadalNadal has signaled 2024 may be his last year on tour and said last week that his second-round loss to Alex de Minaur at the Barcelona Open, which he has won 12 times, was “probably my last match here.”

“At this stage in my career I really want to go out there and make the most of every opportunity I am given,” Nadal said in a statement.

Nadal has long struggled with injuries and has played just five competitive matches this year, three in Brisbane in January and two in Barcelona last week.

The Laver Cup, to be held from September 20-22, is an indoor hard-court men’s competition pitting Team Europe against Team World in a format similar to that of golf’s Ryder Cup.

Nadal and Roger Federer teamed up in the doubles at the 2022 Laver Cup in London for the Swiss great’s last match before retirement.

“I am very happy to be playing Laver Cup in Berlin for Team Europe,” Nadal said. “I have some really special memories from my Laver Cup experiences, including all the emotions from London two years ago playing alongside Roger for the last time.”

Tomas Martin Etcheverry Defeats Cameron Norrie to Reach Barcelona Open Semifinals

Tomas Martin Etcheverry is one step closer to a Spanish title…

The 24-year-old Argentine professional tennis player defeated Cameron Norrie to advance to the Barcelona Open semifinals.

Etcheverry, ranked No. 30 in the workd, stormed through two tiebreakers to win 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-1).

Norrie and Etcheverry went head-to-head for only the second time in their careers during Friday’s match.

Their only previous encounter came last February in Buenos Aires, where Norrie prevailed 5-7, 6-0, 6-3–also in the quarterfinals.

But Etcheverry has made significant improvements in his game over the past 14 months. Along with being up to No. 30 in the world, he made a run to the French Open quarterfinals last spring.

Proir to knocking out Norrie, Etcheverry ousted Nick Hardt and Brandon Nakashima.

Norwegian third seed Casper Ruud, who claimed a straightforward 6-4 6-3 win over Italy’s Matteo Arnaldi, awaits Etcheverry.

Carlos Alcaraz Defeats Stefanos Tsitsipas to Repeat as Barcelona Open Champion

Carlos Alcaraz has successfully defended his title…

Playing dominantly, the 19-year-old Spanish tennis player defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 6-4 on Sunday to become the first player since Rafael Nadal to repeat as Barcelona Open champion.

Carlos AlcarazIn the process, Alcaraz has secured his third title of the year and ninth of his impressive young career.

“Me and my team were talking before the match about staying relaxed,” Alcaraz said. “To want to play the tough moments. Staying relaxed is the most important part for me. To forget the mistakes, everything, and be myself on court. Not to think about all the people watching, but just me, the court, the racket and the final.”

It was the fifth consecutive straight-set win for the second-ranked Alcaraz at his home tournament this year. He is now 10-1 in Barcelona and has won his last 14 tour matches on Spanish soil.

“It’s incredible to feel this energy, to lift the trophy here in Barcelona in front of all my people,” said Alcaraz, who used to watch the tournament in the stands as a kid. “My family and my friends are here as well. To lift the trophy here in front of all of them is a great feeling.”

Alcaraz had not successfully defended a title in his career before Sunday. Nadal was the last player to win consecutive titles in Barcelona with three straight from 2016-18. Alcaraz will also try to defend his title at the upcoming Madrid Open.

He is now 23-2 for the year. His other titles this season came at Buenos Aires and Indian Wells.

Alcaraz was playing in his fourth final in five tournaments this year, winning it with 26 winners and seven unforced errors.

He and Tsitsipas exchanged breaks early in the first set but Alcaraz eventually took control to comfortably secure his fourth consecutive win over the fifth-ranked Greek. He had also beaten Tsitsipas in the Barcelona quarterfinals last year.

“I had the opportunity to see you a few years ago for the first time, I saw you play a little bit,” Tsitsipas said of Alcaraz. “Some of us guys who were on the tour a little bit earlier than you, I think most of us were fascinated by your tennis … we see you as an example even though we are slightly older than you. We see your achievements as something that will hopefully push us to to do better.”

Tsitsipas, the Australian Open finalist earlier this year, was trying to win his first title in Barcelona after twice losing the final to Nadal in 2018 and 2021. He was looking for his first title of the year, and 10th of his career.

Carlos Alcaraz Defeats Daniel Evans to Reach Barcelona Open Final

Carlos Alcaraz is back in the Barcelona Open final…

The 19-year-old Spanish tennis player, the defending champion, has eased into the final after defeating Daniel Evans 6-2, 6-2 on Saturday.

Carlos AlcarazThe second-ranked Alcaraz will face Stefanos Tsitsipas in Sunday’s final after the Greek player advanced by beating Lorenzo Musetti 6-4, 5-7, 6-3 on the outdoor clay court.

Alcaraz defeated his English opponent in 1 hour, 20 minutes, sealing the victory when he blasted a return under Evans’ racket as he made an approach.

“How you reach a final is important for your confidence, and I head into tomorrow with a great feeling,” said Alcaraz, who has not dropped a set in four matches. “Even so, we can’t just rely on how I have played and know that it will be a tough game.”

Last year’s US Open champion, Alcaraz will be seeking his ninth career title and third of the year after triumphing in Buenos Aires and Indian Wells. If he beats Tsitsipas, his title in Barcelona will be his first that he has successfully defended.

Alcaraz is 3-0 against Tsitsipas, including a three-set victory in the Barcelona quarterfinals last year. Alcaraz described last year’s match as “spicy.”

“I’m going to try to forget everything that has happened in the matches before, try to focus on my game tomorrow and try to get the win,” Alcaraz said.

Alcaraz will also attempt a title defense at the Madrid Open next week in the absence of former champions Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

Alcaraz beat countryman Pablo Carreño Busta in last year’s Barcelona final during his impressive run that took him to the world No. 1 ranking.

Tsitsipas reached the final at Barcelona in 2018 and 2021, losing both times to 12-time winner Nadal.

The fifth-ranked Tsitsipas is seeking his first title of 2023.

Tsitsipas and Musetti struggled with their service games. Tsitsipas converted six of his 11 break points, while Musetti made good on five of 10.

“It was very physical out there,” said Tsitsipas, who improved his record against Musetti to 4-0. “We had to cover lots of meters on the court, and he had some incredible defensive shots that I really didn’t expect at all. It was such a mental challenge.”

Francisco Cerundolo Defeats Casper Ruud to Reach Barcelona Open Quarterfinals

Francisco Cerundolo has pulled off an upset…

The 24-year-old Argentine professional tennis player defeated third-seed Casper Ruud 7-6 (5), 6-3 to reach the quarterfinals at the Barcelona Open.

Francisco CerundoloThe 15th-seeded Argentine improved to 4-6 lifetime against Top 10 opponents to reach his fourth quarterfinal of 2023 and his first overall at the ATP 500.

Cerundolo claimed a 2-1 advantage in his ATP Head2Head with Ruud, denying the Norwegian a second straight trip to the Barcelona quarters.

In a dramatic opening set, Cerundolo battled back from 2-5, saving two set points to break Ruud in his second attempt to serve out the set at 5-4. The Argentine hung on after building a 4/0 lead in the tiebreak, then moved decisively ahead with an early break in the second set.

He did not face a break point in set two, dictating with his big forehand throughout and capitalizing on some uncertainty from Ruud, who has suffered second-round defeats in Monte-Carlo and Barcelona after his Estoril title run.

Cerundolo will meet 12th seed Daniel Evans in Friday’s quarterfinals after the Briton’s 6-3, 6-4 win against Karen Khachanov.

Carlos Alcaraz Enters Top 10 in ATP Rankings After Claiming Barcelona Open Title

It’s a new high for Carlos Alcaraz

The 18-year-old Spanish tennis phenom has moved up to No. 9 in the ATP rankings, a little more than a month before he turns 19.

Carlos AlcazarThat makes Alcaraz the youngest man to break into the Top 10 since Rafael Nadal did it exactly 17 years ago.

Alcaraz rose two spots after winning the Barcelona Open on Sunday. He beat compatriot Pablo Carreno Busta 6-3, 6-2 in the final.

At 18 years, 11 months and 20 days old, Alcaraz is the ninth-youngest man to reach the top 10 since the computer rankings began in 1973. His fellow Spaniard Nadal was about a month younger when he climbed into the top 10 on April 25, 2005, after a title on Barcelona’s clay.

The youngest man to crack that elite level on the ATP Tour was Aaron Krickstein, who was 11 days past his 17th birthday when he made his debut in the Top 10 in August 1984.

Alcaraz is tied with Nadal for the most ATP titles in 2022 with three; his 23 match wins are second behind only Stefanos Tsitsipas, who has 24 victories this season.

Novak Djokovic remained at No. 1 after finishing as the runner-up to Andrey Rublev in the Serbia Open, with Daniil Medvedev still at No. 2, Alexander Zverev at No. 3 and Nadal at No. 4.

Nadal, owner of a men’s-record 21 Grand Slam singles championships, has been in the top 10 every week since he first got there.

Carlos Alcaraz Defeats Pablo Carreno Busta to Claim Third ATP Title of Year at Barcelona Open

Carlos Alcaraz continues to prove he’s the future of tennis…

In a young career full of great moments, the 18-year-old Spanish tennis phenom wrote another unforgettable chapter on Sunday in Barcelona.

Carlos AlcazarThe fifth seed defeated his compatriot, mentor and eighth seed Pablo Carreno Busta 6-3, 6-2 to win the Barcelona Open.

Alcaraz, who has now won three titles this season, is projected to climb to No. 9 in the ATP Rankings on Monday, making him the youngest player to crack the Top 10 since Rafael Nadal did it exactly 17 years ago after lifting his first Barcelona trophy.

“It means a lot. I’ve watched this tournament since I was a kid. I always wished to play in this tournament and of course to be able to win this tournament,” Alcaraz said in his on-court interview. “I’m really, really happy to be part of the [historic] Spanish list.”

Plenty of Spanish legends have won the Barcelona title, including NadalJuan Carlos Ferrero and Carlos Moya.

Alcaraz, Nadal and Sunday’s Serbia Open champion Andrey Rublev lead the ATP Tour this season with three titles each.

“I’ve always been a normal guy. I’m not scared of fame,” Alcaraz said. “I’m not going to change the person I am. I’m happy to know that at 18 years old I’m in the Top 10, and to do it [at] the same age as my idol Rafa is impressive.”

Although the scoreline of the final looks straightforward, the day was anything but.

The semifinals were pushed to Sunday because of rain, and the 18-year-old needed three hours and 40 minutes to defeat Alex de Minaur in the longest best-of-three match of the season.

In that clash, the Aussie had two match points to win in straight sets. On one of those match points, de Minaur had a short forehand with the court open, but allowed Alcaraz a look at a passing shot, which the teen delivered perfectly.

The #NextGenATP star showed no fatigue in the final, overwhelming Carreno Busta, who is like Alcaraz’s older brother, in one hour and six minutes. Both Spaniards train at the JC Ferrero Equelite Sport Academy and Carreno Busta’s coach, Samuel Lopez, used to coach Alcaraz’s coach, Juan Carlos Ferrero.

During the trophy ceremony, Alcaraz and Carreno Busta even sat on the same bench as they waited to be called up.

So although this was the pair’s first ATP Head2Head meeting, they were plenty familiar with one another. Alcaraz’s power controlled the action and he did not face a break point, while converting four of his 10 break chances to triumph.

“When my semifinal match finished, I rested, ate and I did my routine,” Carreno Busta said. “As we share team members, we do similar routines and we have coincided in some moments. We are friends first and we have to respect that.”

Earlier in the day, Carreno Busta defeated sixth seed Diego Schwartzman in straight sets. But he was unable to find the same consistency against his countryman, missing a forehand long at 2-2 to relinquish the first break of the match and a short backhand on set point to give up another service break.

It was clear Carreno Busta had to go for more to try to match Alcaraz’s weight of shot, but he was never able to find enough of a rhythm to trouble his younger opponent.

“It wasn’t the match I expected,” Carreno Busta said. “Carlos was playing a very aggressive game this afternoon and he was very effective. It was very difficult play against him today.”

One year ago in Barcelona, then-World No. 119 Alcaraz lost in the first round against Frances Tiafoe in straight sets. Now he is the tournament winner.

Rafael Nadal Defeats Diego Schwartzman to Reach French Open Semifinals

Rafael Nadal’s streak may have ended, but he’s still extending other records at the French Open.

The 35-year-old Spanish tennis star, the King of Clay, saw his 36-set winning streak end at Roland Garros on Wednesday, but he battled through to a record-extending 14th semifinal at the tournament.

Rafael Nadal

The 13-time champion improved to a 105-2 match record at the clay-court Grand Slam following a 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-0 victory over Argentine 10th seed Diego Schwartzman in two hours and 45 minutes on Court Philippe-Chatrier.

Nadal, who is bidding to capture a record 21st major crown, lost the final three games of the second set in front of 5,000 spectators, but regrouped in the third set and from a 3-4 deficit put his foot down to win nine straight games, and 20 of 21 service points in a row.

“I started badly in the second set, then I was able to come back,” said Nadal. “But at 4-4, returning with the wind, I played a bad game and hit a double fault in the next game. I needed to play more aggressively and I did so throughout the rest of the match. I won an important match today against a tough opponent. I was able to find a way to play my best tennis in the moments that I really needed to.”

He will next challenge World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, the 2016 champion with 18 major trophies who beat ninth-seeded Italian Matteo Berrettini, in Friday’s semi-finals.

Nadal trails Djokovic 28-29 in their legendary ATP Head2Head series, but Nadal won their last match in the Internazionali BNL d’Italia final in Rome.

Nadal has compiled a 23-3 match record on the season, which also includes the Barcelona Open title (d. Tsitsipas). He is through to his 35th Grand Slam semifinal and is 26-0 once he reaches the Roland Garros semifinals.

Rafael Nadal Outlasts Stefanos Tsitsipas to Win Record-Extending 12th Barcelona Open Title

Rafael Nadal has persevered to continue his winning ways on clay…

The 34-year-old Spanish tennis star saved one championship point on Sunday to defeat Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 6-7(6), 7-5 and collect a record-extending 12th Barcelona Open trophy.

Rafael Nadal

The top seed was one point from defeat at 4-5, 30/40 in the decider and he carried the momentum from that moment to win three straight games and overcome the Monte-Carlo champion after three hours and 38 minutes.

The championship match was the longest best-of-three-set ATP Tour final since statistics started being tracked in 1991.

Rafael Nadal

This is the second tournament where Nadal has captured 12 or more titles. The 13-time Roland Garros (French Open) champion, who failed to convert two championship points at 5-4 in the second set, will return to No. 2 in the FedEx ATP Rankings on Monday.

“I think I never played a final like this in this tournament, so it means a lot to me against a player like him, [after what] he achieved in Monte-Carlo and [that he reached] the final here without losing a set,” Nadal said. “It is an important victory for me. I think I have been increasing my level during the whole week and this victory confirms it. That’s important for today.

“To have the trophy with me here at home means a lot, but at the same time for the future.”