Carlos Alcaraz Soundly Defeats Alexander Zverev to Claim Madrid Open Title

Carlos Alcaraz continues to impress, as he proves he belongs among the best.

The 19-year-old Spanish tennis phenom wrapped up another impressive week with a straight-set victory over Alexander Zverev on Sunday to win the Madrid Open and become the second-youngest player to win two Masters 1000 titles.

Carlos AlcarazHis comfortable 6-3, 6-1 win over Zverev followed victories over his idol Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals and top-ranked Novak Djokovic in the semifinals.

“Last year I was going through these experiences for the first time, playing against the best players, playing in the Masters 1000, and I learned a lot,” Alcaraz said. “Now it’s different. I go onto the court knowing that I can win, with the confidence that I can win at any moment.”

Alcaraz became the youngest winner in Madrid, and the second youngest to win two Masters 1000 trophies after Nadal won in Monte Carlo and Rome in 2005 as an 18-year-old. Alcaraz had already become the youngest to enter the top 10 since Nadal did it in 2005.

“It feels great to be able to beat these players,” Alcaraz said. “To beat two of the best players in history and then Zverev, the world No. 3. He is a great player. I would say this is the best week of my life.”

Carlos AlcarazIt was the seventh straight win over a top-10 player for Alcaraz, and his tour-leading fourth title of the year. He also has the most wins this season with 28, one more than Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Alcaraz tried to downplay the hype about whether he’s the best player right now, though.

“Djokovic is the No. 1 in the ranking,” he said. “It’s not because I won in Barcelona and beat Djokovic and Rafa in Madrid that I will consider myself the best player in the world. Also, I think I’m going to be No. 6 tomorrow, so I still have five players in front of me to be the best one.”

For Zverev, who was trying to win his second consecutive Madrid title – and third overall – there was no doubt about who was playing the best tennis.

“Right now you are the best player in the world,” Zverev said before the trophy ceremony and joked about his opponent’s age. “Even though you are still 5 years old, you are still beating us all, so great to see for tennis that we have such a new superstar who is going to win many Grand Slams, who is going to be No. 1 and is going to win this tournament many times.”

Alcaraz had won his first Masters 1000 tournament in Miami earlier this year. He had also won in Rio de Janeiro and Barcelona. His first career title came in Umag last year.

Alcaraz’s three losses this season came against Sebastian Korda in Monte Carlo, Nadal in Indian Wells and Matteo Berrettini in the Australian Open.

After long three-set wins over Nadal and Djokovic, the seventh-seeded Alcaraz kept his high energy from the start against Zverev and was in control throughout the match at the Caja Mágica center court.

He didn’t face any break points and converted four of the eight he had against the second-seeded Zverev. Alcaraz had 11 unforced errors compared to 25 by Zverev.

“I am 19 years old, which I think is the key to be able to play long and tough matches in a row. I am feeling great physically,” Alcaraz said.

Alcaraz said he had been worried about his condition after waking up with an infected blister and a swollen right ankle, which he injured in the win against Nadal on Friday.

Alcaraz said it was special to win in Madrid, where he first started watching tennis at an early age.

“Watching Rafa lift this trophy gave me a lot of power to work hard for this moment,” Alcaraz said. “It is a great moment for me. It is the first tournament I watched, so lifting the trophy today is so emotional.”

Carlos Alcaraz Upsets World No. 1 Novak Djokovic to Reach Madrid Open Final

Carlos Alcaraz’s stellar season continues as his list of victims keeps growing…

One day after defeating his idol Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals of the Madrid Open, the 19-year-old Spanish tennis phenom rallied to beat top-ranked Novak Djokovic.

Carlos Alcaraz Alcaraz outlasted Djokovic 6-7 (5), 7-5, 7-6 (5) in a semifinal match that lasted more than 3½ hours on Saturday to reach the Madrid Open final.

“It was one of those matches to enjoy,” Alcaraz said. “Despite the tension, despite being the semifinals, being 7-6 in the third-set tiebreaker … I’ve enjoyed it. Until the last point I was being able to smile.”

Alcaraz became the first player to beat Nadal and Djokovic at the same clay-court event. He converted his third match point in front of a raucous home crowd on the Caja Mágica center court.

“It’s a spectacular feeling right now,” Alcaraz said. “I’m very excited to be able to play these kind of matches, to be able to beat Rafa yesterday, to be able to beat the No. 1 today.”

A win on Sunday will give Alcaraz his fourth title this season, the most of any player in 2022.

He will face defending champion Alexander Zverev, who defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 3-6, 6-2. The second-seeded German player converted three of his five break opportunities to clinch the victory in nearly two hours in match that ended after 1 a.m. local time.

Alcaraz, the youngest player in the top 10 since Nadal in 2005, has won this year in Miami, Rio de Janeiro and Barcelona.

Carlos Alcaraz Earns Landmark Win Over Idol Rafael Nadal at Madrid Open

Carlos Alcaraz has taken out his idol…

In a clash of generations, the 19-year-old Spanish teenage tennis sensation overcame an injury to defeat his idol Rafael Nadal 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 in the Madrid Open quarterfinals on Friday.

Carlos AlcarazAlcaraz recovered from a bad ankle twist early in the second set to earn his first victory against the 21-time Grand Slam champion, marking what could be the beginning of a changing of the guard in Spanish tennis.

Alcaraz considered by many in Spain as Nadal’s successor will play his first Madrid semifinal against top-ranked Novak Djokovic, who eased past Hubert Hurkacz 6-3, 6-4.

“It’s obvious there is [a change in guard],” Nadal said. “He turned 19 yesterday, I’m almost 36 years old. If [the change] begins today or not, we will find out in the next months. I’m happy for him. He was better than me in several aspects of the game.”

It was Nadal’s first loss to a Spanish competitor in six years, since falling to Fernando Verdasco at the 2016 Australian Open. He had a 138-21 record against his countrymen entering the match against Alcaraz.

“It means a lot to me to beat Rafa, to beat the best player in the history on clay,” Alcaraz said. “This is the result of all the hard work I’ve done.”

Still far from his best form after a six-week injury layoff, Nadal predicted a hard time keeping up with the energy of Alcaraz. And he was right early on, as the youngster overpowered him to easily win the first set with three breaks.

But Alcaraz lost momentum after needing medical attention for the ankle, losing 20 of the next 22 points as Nadal cruised through the second set.

The match also was interrupted in the second set after a fan became ill in the stands of the Caja Mágica center court.

Both players got off to a great start this season as they seek their fourth title of the year, which would be the most on tour.

Nadal’s run was hampered by a rib stress fracture suffered in his semifinal win against Alcaraz in Indian Wells. His other win against the ninth-ranked Alcaraz came in Madrid last year, when the youngster was just starting to attract everyone’s attention.

Nadal saved four match points to get past David Goffin in a third-round match that lasted more than three hours on Thursday.

He said it was a positive balance for him after winning two matches following his injury layoff.

“It’s an easy loss to digest in that regard, because we knew what we could expect here,” Nadal said. “My only dream is (to) be in Paris (for the French Open) healthy enough and physically good enough to compete at the highest level possible.”

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 Casper Ruud to Become Youngest Miami Open Champion

It’s a win for the history books for Carlos Alcaraz

The 18-year-old Spanish tennis phenom and No. 14 seed defeated sixth-seeded Casper Ruud of Norway 7-5, 6-4 in Sunday’s final, giving Spain its first ever Miami Open men’s champion.

Carlos Alcaraz

By claiming the first ATP Masters 1000 career title of his career, Alcaraz also becomes the youngest champion in the event’s history.

Alcaraz wasn’t even in the top 100 in the ATP Rankings at this time last year, but he now heads into the clay-court season playing as strongly as any other player.

“I love Miami,” Alcaraz said.

The melting pot city of Miami — with its massive Spanish-speaking community — loved him back, and Alcaraz said that made a big difference throughout his two-week stay.

“I felt like I was home from the first minute I began playing,” Alcaraz said.

He became the youngest champion in Miami Open history — Novak Djokovic was 19 when he won the tournament, then the NASDAQ-100 Open, for the first time — and picked up $1,231,245 for the victory, nearly doubling his career earnings with one check.

The shot-making ability from the Spanish teen was on full display: daring drop shots in tense situations, deft touch at the net when needed, raw power from the baseline when warranted. Alcaraz often would look to his team in the stands and give a joyous yell or a knowing fist-pump, clearly feeling more comfortable as the afternoon went along.

Among those there with him: his coach, Juan Carlos Ferrero. He had been away while mourning the death of his father, but made it back to Miami in time for the final. And when the match was over, Alcaraz hopped into the stands to give Ferrero his first hug as a Miami champion, as his coach wiped away tears.

“It’s pretty amazing to share this with you,” Alcaraz told Ferrero.

There had been four other Spanish men to make the final at what now is called the Miami Open — the tournament has changed names a few times over the years — over the last quarter-century. Sergi Bruguera was the first, in 1997. Carlos Moya was next, in 2003. David Ferrer got there in 2013 and the best player of them all, Rafael Nadal, made it to the Miami final in 2005, 2008, 2011, 2014 and 2017.

They all lost. Every time.

Alcaraz ended the drought and did so with authority.

He ripped a crosscourt forehand for a double-break lead of 3-0 in the second set. Ruud broke back for 3-1, and had a chance at setting up another breaker late in the set.

With Alcaraz hitting a second serve at 4-3, 30-30, Ruud guessed the incoming ball’s path correctly and ran around his backhand to try what would have been a down-the-line winner. He put it just wide, and a point later Alcaraz was up 5-3. Before long, it was over.

“You’re such a good player already,” Ruud told Alcaraz during the trophy ceremony. “You’re so young and if you continue like this you will stand there many more times. I’m sure of it.”

Alcaraz lost one set in six matches in Miami, improved to 18-2 overall this year and became the third-youngest winner of any ATP Masters 1000 series event — which goes back to 1990. The only younger winners: Michael Chang and Nadal.

“For me, he’s one of the top four people that you have to talk about at every major now, along with Djokovic, Nadal and (Daniil) Medvedev,” raved tennis great Martina Navratilova on Tennis Channel after the match. “He’s the fourth one, for me.”

Rankings-wise, both players leave Miami better than ever. Ruud is expected to climb one spot to a career-best No. 7 in the world when the computer numbers are updated Monday; Alcaraz will be a career-best No. 11.

For Alcaraz, the rise has been meteoric. He was ranked No. 133 at this time a year ago.

But he made big jumps — getting to the third round of last year’s French Open as a qualifier pushed him into the top 75, making the US Open quarterfinals got him into the top 50, winning a tournament in Rio de Janeiro in February got him into the top 20, and he leaves Miami flirting with the top 10.

“You’re a great champion … and I hope you return for many years to the Miami Open,” tournament director James Blake told Alcaraz after the match, apologizing for the quality of his Spanish.

Carlos Alcaraz Defeats Defending Champion Hubert Hurkacz to Reach Miami Open Final

Carlos Alcaraz is one win away from history…

The 18-year-old Spanish tennis player ended the 10-match tournament winning streak of defending champion Hubert Hurkacz to advance to the final at the Miami Open on Friday evening to reach his first ATP Masters 1000.

Carlos AlcarazWith his 7-6(5), 7-6(2) victory, Alcaraz has reached the biggest final of his young career, going one better than his semifinal run at Indian Wells two weeks ago.

“I have a lot of emotions right now. It’s something that you dream of when you are a child,” said Alcaraz, who is one win away from becoming the youngest champion in the tournament’s 37-year history. “It’s really good to be in the final here in Miami. I love playing here. The crowd is amazing. I’m going to approach the final like a first round, trying to mask the nerves. I’m going to enjoy it, it’s going to be a great final.”

Alcaraz trailed 3/5 in the opening-set tiebreak, but repeated his heroics from Thursday’s quarterfinal win against Miomir Kecmanovic by winning four straight points to close it out.

After erasing two break points at 5-all in the second set — taking his tournament total to 15 of 17 break points saved — Alcaraz controlled the second tie-break with help from some untimely Hurkacz errors. A drop shot at 5/2 set up match point, and a dipping pass attempt forced a volley into the net to close out the match.

“I couldn’t return his serves, but I knew that the match was going to be long sets like it was, 7-6, 7-6,” said Alcaraz, who dropped deep with his return positioning, in contrast to his previous matches. “At the beginning, I saw that I couldn’t return. I thought we were going to play a lot of tiebreaks… A little bit different [than my previous matches] with his serve, but it’s a great win for me.”

Hurkacz tallied one more winner than Alcaraz on the night, 23 to 22, but gave up that advantage by committing 37 unforced errors in the match. Early in the second set, the frustrated Pole shouted to his coach: “I can’t do my backhand.”

But this was far from a standard matchup of baseline blasts as both men attacked the net with regularity, a total of 47 times between them, with both posting a 70 per cent win rate. Alcaraz also hit 16 drop shots in the match, winning 11 of those points (69 per cent).

In a match that did not see a break of serve, both men saved three break points, with each coming up clutch to fight off a pair when serving at 5-all. After failing to convert late in the first, Alcaraz provided a moment of good sportsmanship by offering to replay a point as he served at 5-6, 30/0 after an incorrect “not up” call. Hurkacz applauded the gesture but was not able to get a look in the service game.

“Definitely he’s playing insane for his age,” Hurkacz said following the match. “It’s really incredible how he plays, how he competes… He has an amazing career in front of him. It’s crazy how good he plays.”

By reaching the final, Alcaraz moves up to third place in the ATP Race to Turin, with an opportunity to move up to second with the title. The World No. 16 improves to 6-6 against the Top 10, having won the opening set in all six of his victories and lost the opener in all six defeats

He’ll face Casper Ruud in the Sunday’s final following his 6-4, 6-1 win over Francisco Cerundolo.

Alcaraz is hoping to become the third-youngest man to win a title at this level, behind only Michael Chang (1990, Toronto) and Rafael Nadal (2005, Monte Carlo). He’s also the second-youngest finalist in Miami history, behind only Nadal, who lost the 2005 final to Roger Federer.

Alcaraz is projected to move up to a career-high of No. 12 in the ATP Rankings with his final run, and will reach No. 11 with the title.

Rafael Nadal Outlasts Carlos Alcaraz to Improve to 20-0 in 2022

Rafael Nadal remains undefeated…

The 35-year-old Spanish tennis star outlasted Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 on Saturday night to reach the BNP Paribas Open final and improve to 20-0 this year.

Rafael NadalThe 21-time major champion threw his head back, smiled and raised both arms in triumph after escaping an aggressive Alcaraz.

The 18-year-old never appeared rattled playing his vaunted countryman, who had the crowd, a 17-year advantage in age and loads of experience in his favor.

“He has all the ingredients to become an amazing champion,” Nadal said. “I don’t have many doubts that he will be great. He is already, by the way.”

Nadal’s perfect record is the third-best start to a season since 1990. He’s won titles at Melbourne, the Australian Open and Acapulco.

Nadal staved off three break points on his serve in the fifth game of the third set and then broke Alcaraz with a forehand volley winner to go up 5-3. Nadal served out the match with a love game, punctuating the 3-hour, 12-minute struggle with a 95 mph ace.

“Rafa has thousand lives,” Alcaraz said. “If he’s down, he’s able to play at a great level in the tough moments.”

Alcaraz hit 39 winners to 20 for Nadal. The teen saved 15 of the 20 break points he faced through the first two sets, but couldn’t stop the net-rushing Nadal who broke him to go up 4-3.

That’s when Nadal called for a trainer, who appeared to give the soon-to-be 36-year-old star an adjustment. Nadal said he was feeling pain in his left chest.

Ranked 19th in the world, Alcaraz outdueled Nadal in a second set that featured five service breaks, including four in a row.

Tied 4-all, Alcaraz broke Nadal in a game that lasted 19 minutes, 42 seconds. Nadal’s errant forehand gave Alcaraz the advantage on the seventh break point of the game. The teenager tossed up a topspin lob near the baseline that Nadal could not catch up to and Alcaraz led 5-4. He served out the set, 6-4.

“If you are playing with Rafa, you have to be calm, you have to think well in the tough moments,” Alcaraz said. “That’s what I learned in this match.”

Alcaraz got Nadal’s attention from the start, breaking him in the first game of the match. The teen survived a six-deuce game on his serve to go up 2-0. Alcaraz was gutsy throughout, charging the net on break points and often coming up with winners.

“I feel like I’m part of that level. I am part of these kind of players,” Alcaraz said. “I think I’m going to play against Rafa or the best players this year a lot.”

As the match went on, the wind grew so strong it blew the players’ white towels nearly onto the court and rattled Nadal’s perfectly aligned drink bottles that he set facing the court. Ball kids chased items that weren’t anchored down. Nadal said his eyes hurt because of sand stirred up by the wind.

Nadal will meet Taylor Fritz in the final Sunday. Seeded 20th, Fritz is the first American man to make the final since John Isner in 2012 and he’ll try to be the first to win the title since Andre Agassi in 2001.

Fritz ended No. 7 seed Andrey Rublev‘s 13-match winning streak with a 7-5, 6-4 victory in the other semifinal. The Russian had won 13 consecutive matches since February 14, including back-to-back titles at Marseille and Dubai.

Carlos Alcaraz Defeats Sebastian Korda to Claim Next Gen ATP Finals Title

Carlos Alcaraz has ended his brilliant season with a bang…

The 18-year-old Spanish tennis player defeated Sebastian Korda of the United States to win the Next Gen ATP Finals on Saturday.

Carlos AlcarazThe top-seeded Alcaraz seemed to take a while to find his proper rhythm and had to save a number of break points in his first two service games. But he found his stride there was no turning back as he saw off Korda 4-3 (5), 4-2, 4-2 in 82 minutes.

Alcaraz had seen two championship points saved by Korda in the fifth game of the third set but that only delayed the inevitable as he won on his third, with a smash at the net.

The victory made Alcaraz the youngest player to earn 32 tour-level wins in a season since Andrei Medvedev went 32-11 in 1992 when he was 18.

Alcaraz has moved more than 100 places up the rankings this season to a career-high No. 32 and reached the U.S. Open quarterfinals.

Both Korda and Alcaraz had won all four of their matches in the tournament for the top 21-and-under players on the ATP Tour. Alcaraz had only dropped one set all week – in the third group game, after he had already secured a semifinal spot.

The ATP Finals will also be in Italy, in Turin next week.

There are different rules at the Next Gen tournament, including on-court coaching, no-Ad scoring, medical timeout limits, and Hawk-Eye making all the line calls.

The most drastic change is the shorter first-to-four set, with a tiebreaker at 3-3.

Carlos Alcaraz Advances to Final at This Year’s Next Gen ATP Finals

Carlos Alcaraz is one win away from proving he’s nex-gen ready…

The 18-year-old Spanish tennis player defeated Argentina’s Sebastian Baez on Friday to reach the final round at the Next Gen ATP Finals.

Carlos Alcaraz Alcaraz dominated from the start in semifinal to win 4-2, 4-1, 4-2 in just 62 minutes.

The only time Alcaraz appeared to struggle was in the penultimate game of the match, when he faced three break points. But he responded with three serves of speeds over 133 mph – including two aces.

He’ll next face American Sebatian Korda, who beat compatriot Brandon Nakashima in five sets on Friday to become the first American to reach the final at the Next Gen ATP Finals.

Both Korda and Alcaraz won all three of their matches in the round-robin group stage.

It is the fourth edition of the tournament in Milan for the top 21-and-under players on the ATP Tour. It was canceled last year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The ATP Finals will also be in Italy, in Turin next week.

There are different rules at the Next Gen tournament, including on-court coaching, no-Ad scoring, medical timeout limits, and Hawk-Eye making all the line calls.

The most drastic change is the shorter first-to-four set, with a tiebreaker at 3-3.

Carlos Alcaraz Makes History While Reaching the Semifinals at the Next Gen ATP Finals

Carlos Alcaraz is two wins away…

The 18-year-old Spanish tennis player will head into the semifinals at the Next Gen ATP Finals in fine form after he captured his third consecutive round-robin win Thursday to top Group A with a 3-0 record.

Carlos Alcaraz

Alcaraz, who secured his qualification for the last four on Wednesday when he downed Brandon Nakashima, overcame Argentine Juan Manuel Cerundolo 4-0, 4-1, 2-4, 4-3(3) after 84 minutes in Milan.

In their first head to head meeting, Alcaraz overpowered the World No. 91 from the baseline with his deep, heavy-hitting and saved nine of the 10 break points he faced to secure victory. With his triumph, Alcaraz is the youngest player to earn 30 tour-level wins in a season since Rafael Nadal, 18, went 30-17 in 2004.

“I am very happy to get to the semi-finals,” Alcaraz said in his on-court interview. “It is so important and to be able to play in the semi-finals here is amazing. To play these kinds of matches and this level, I am really glad. I am playing really, really well and feel very comfortable in Milan. I want to end the year with a title.”

Under the watchful eye of coach Juan Carlos Ferrero, Alcaraz has dropped just one set at the 21-and-under event as he continues to live up to his top seed status in Italy. The former World No. 1 has been instructing his protégé to great effect courtside throughout the event, with on-court coaching allowed at the Next Gen ATP Finals.

“I had to be really focused on my serve, make first serves and play aggressive on big points,” Alcaraz added. “Making first serves helped me. It is something I am trying to add to my game. The most important points is when you want the first serves.”

Earlier this year, Alcaraz lifted his maiden tour-level trophy in Umag and made headlines when he upset World No. 3 Stefanos Tsitsipas en route to the quarterfinals at the US Open.

Cordoba champion Cerundolo was already out of the tournament before his match against Alcaraz after losing his first two round-robin matches. But the World No. 91 demonstrated what he was capable off by taking a set off the Spaniard at the Allianz Cloud.