Alcaraz Topples Zverev For Madrid Title
The Spaniard lit up the Manolo Santana Stadium with his variety of shots and athleticism as he overpowered Zverev with his relentless hitting to earn a seventh straight Top 10 win and Tour-leading fourth title of the year.
“It feels great to be able to beat these players. 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,” Alcaraz said in his on-court interview. “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.”
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Alcaraz, who did not face a break point in a dominant performance against the German, will rise to second in the Pepperstone ATP Race To Turin on Monday as he aims to make his debut at the prestigious Nitto ATP Finals in November.
“Watching Rafa lift this trophy gave me a lot of power to work hard for this moment,” Alcaraz added. “It is a great moment for me. It is the first tournament I watched, so lifting the trophy today is so emotional.”
With his 62-minute victory, the 19-year-old is the second-youngest player to win two Masters 1000 titles, after triumphing in Miami in March. Rafael Nadal captured crowns in Monte Carlo and Rome in 2005 when he was 18.
In a dream week on home soil, the seventh seed also became the first player to eliminate Nadal and Novak Djokovic at the same clay-court event. It is the first time since David Nalbandian in Madrid in 2007 that a player has defeated three top four stars at a Masters 1000 event.
Nalbandian beat Djokovic, Nadal and Roger Federer in the Spanish capital when the tournament was played on hard.
Alcaraz battled past countryman Nadal in two hours and 28 minutes, before he edged World No. 1 Djokovic in a three-hour, 36-minute marathon to reach the final. The 19-year-old also took a heavy fall against Nadal in their quarter-final meeting as he rolled his ankle, but showed no signs of it against Zverev in his shortest match of the week.
“I want to congratulate Carlitos. Right now you are the best player in the world,” Zverev said during the trophy ceremony. “It is great for tennis that we have such a new superstar that is going to win so many Grand Slams, that is going to be World No. 1 and I think is going to win this tournament many more times.”
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Just 12 months ago, Alcaraz was ranked at No. 120 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings when he made his Madrid debut. However, after soaring to five tour-level titles since, he will climb to a career-high No. 6 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings on Monday.
Alongside Masters 1000 titles in Miami and Madrid, the 2021 Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals champion has trophies in Umag, Rio de Janeiro and Barcelona in the past year, meaning he is the youngest five-time titlist on Tour since Nadal clinched seven crowns by 19 in 2004-05. Alcaraz, who has won his past 10 matches, has yet to lose an ATP Tour final.
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In a dominant first-set performance, Alcaraz successfully targeted Zverev’s forehand with his power from the baseline. The 19-year-old consistently turned defence into attack with his agility, gaining the crucial break in the sixth game before serving well to lead.
Fuelled by momentum, Alcaraz continued to put his foot down in the second set as his depth, width and weight of shot troubled Zverev, who was unable to control his groundstrokes. The Spaniard pulled the second seed around with his great touch and returned aggressively, breaking three times in the second set as he soared to victory. Alcaraz has now improved to 1-2 in his ATP Head2Head series against Zverev, gaining revenge for his defeats in Acapulco and Vienna in 2021.
Alcaraz dominated in both attack and defence in a ruthless display in front of his home crowd. The seventh seed won 86 per cent of points when he was on the offensive, while he ‘stole’ 51 per cent of points as he demonstrated great movement in defence. Zverev entered the match with an average Conversion score of 76 per cent, but could not hit through Alcaraz, further signifying the Spaniard’s remarkable performance. (Learn more about Conversion and Steal scores).Match Insights
Zverev was aiming to capture his third title in Madrid, having lifted the trophy in 2018 and 2021. The German defeated Marin Cilic, Lorenzo Musetti, Felix Auger-Aliassime and Stefanos Tsitsipas en route to his second final of the season in the Spanish capital, after also advancing to the championship match in Montpellier in February.