Second Quarter

ATP Tour Q2 Review: Alcaraz, Djokovic Dominate As Rivalry Grows

Medvedev, Rublev show clay-court prowess; Rune rises with consistency
July 20, 2023
Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic split the two major titles in Q2.
Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour
Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic split the two major titles in Q2. By ATP Staff

The busiest quarter on the 2023 ATP calendar began with the European clay-court swing and concluded last week at Wimbledon. With half of the year in the books, the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin is beginning to take shape, with Carlos Alcaraz, Novak Djokovic and Daniil Medvedev leading the chase for the Nitto ATP Finals.

Before the North American hard court swing takes center stage next month in Toronto and Cincinnati, looks back at the best of Q2.

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No. 1 Alcaraz Wins Wimbledon Crown
Alcaraz began and concluded the second quarter in supreme style, bookending the period with trophies and coming out the other side atop the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

For the second straight year, Alcaraz completed a Spanish double in Barcelona and at the ATP Masters 1000 in Madrid, losing just two sets in 11 wins. A shock early exit in Rome — shortly after his 20th birthday — was followed by a semi-final run at Roland Garros, which ended at the hands of Djokovic as the Spaniard struggled with cramp.

It is a sign of the tremendous growth in Alcaraz's game — and the expectations placed on it — that the defeat was billed as a disappointment for the pre-tournament favourite. But that feeling was quickly forgotten when the Spaniard posted a perfect 12-0 record on grass across The Queen's Club and Wimbledon.

Having played just two grass court events in his life before this year, Alcaraz's showcased his adaptability amidst rapid development on the British lawns. His first grass title at Queen's saw him recapture World No. 1, and he retained his status atop the Pepperstone ATP Rankings in a winner-takes-all Wimbledon final against Djokovic.

Alcaraz's 1-6, 7-6 (6), 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 victory ended the Serbian's four-year title run at at the All England Club. The Spaniard now leads the pair's budding Lexus ATP Head2Head rivalry 2-1.

Djokovic Stands Alone With 23rd Major Title
Djokovic compiled a pedestrian 5-3 record across his first three clay events of 2023, his best result a quarter-final showing at the ATP Masters 1000 in Rome. But he once again displayed his ability to peak for the majors at Roland Garros, where he lost two sets on his way to his 23rd Grand Slam title — a number that put him clear of the absent Rafael Nadal as the all-time leader for men's singles major crowns. 

After beating Alcaraz in a four-set semi-final, Djokovic won his third Roland Garros title by beating Casper Ruud in the title round. It was Ruud's third final in the past five majors.

Like Djokovic, the Norwegian also had an inconsistent clay campaign prior to Roland Garros, with his lone highlight coming in a semi-final run in Rome. But by defending his runner-up points at the major, Ruud has held steady at No. 4 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

Medvedev Slides Into Clay Success
Long known for his rocky relationship with clay courts, Medvedev turned a new leaf by winning his first title on the surface this May. It came on a historic stage at the ATP Masters 1000 in Rome, where the World No. 3 beat Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Holger Rune to claim the crown, including identical 7-5, 7-5 triumphs against Tsitsipas and Rune in the last two rounds.

Medvedev notched two match wins each in Monte-Carlo and Madrid before his Rome success, though he was knocked out in the Roland Garros opening round by Thiago Seyboth Wild. He made up for that by securing his best Wimbledon result, a semi-final run that was stopped by Alcaraz.

Alcaraz and Medvedev ended the second quarter with the two best match records this season on the ATP Tour, Alcaraz at 47-4 and Medvedev at 46-9.

Rublev Wins First ATP Masters 1000
Rublev began Q2 with a bang, winning his maiden ATP Masters 1000 title with a powerful performance at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters. The 25-year-old did it the hard way with three Top 15 wins, capped with a 5-7, 6-2, 7-5 final victory against Rune.

He followed that up by reaching the final in Banja Luka (clay) and Halle (grass), then advanced to his first Wimbledon quarter-final, where he was beaten by Djokovic.

Rune Shows Consistency To Reach New Career High
Rune began his clay season by reaching the final in Monte-Carlo and defending his title in Munich, then rose to a new career-high Pepperstone ATP Ranking of No. 6 by reaching the Rome final. 

Showing remarkable consistency at the biggest events on the ATP Tour calendar, he then advanced to the Roland Garros quarters, the Queen's Club semis and his first Wimbledon quarter-final. Dating back to Monte-Carlo, Rune reached at least the quarters at six of seven events.

Krajicek Debuts As Doubles No. 1 After Roland Garros Triumph
Austin Krajicek was on top of the world, and the Pepperstone ATP Doubles Rankings, after he won his maiden Grand Slam title with Ivan Dodig at Roland Garros. The American-Croatian duo also won Monte-Carlo to open the clay swing, and they followed their Roland Garros triumph with another title at The Queen's Club. Their 13-match winning streak was ended by Croatians Nikola Mektic and Mate Pavic in the Eastbourne final.

Dutchman Wesley Koolhof and Briton Neal Skupski finished Q2 as joint World No. 1s after winning their maiden major title at Wimbledon. The pair first reached No. 1 last November.

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