On his 20th birthday, Carlos Alcaraz made the final of the Madrid Open and won his 20th consecutive victory on Spanish soil.
Alcaraz overcame the opposition of Borna Coric with a 6-4, 6-3 semi-final win at the clay court ATP Masters 1000 to mark the end of his career.
Alcaraz had to be at his best to overcome Coric’s tenacity.
The difference in the Spaniard’s game proved to be crucial to the victory, as he dragged the often eager Coric around the Manolo Santana Stadium, converting four of six breaks to win in one hour and 41 minutes.
Carlos Alcaraz: «It means a lot to me, to play in the final again here in Madrid. «It’s a very special place for me and I have great memories since I came to play here. [as an] Under 12. Of course, last year was amazing.
«It’s special to turn 20 like that, so I’ll enjoy the final and try to make all of Spain happy.»
After successfully winning the Barcelona title two weeks ago, Alcaraz will face either Aslan Karatesev or Jan-Lenard Struff in the final in Spain on Sunday for his fourth ATP Tour title.
If he successfully defends his title at the Caja Magica, the Spaniard can take the top spot in the ATP rankings by playing the Rome Masters match at the end of this month.
«I enjoy playing here in Madrid. I always try to do it [the fans] I’m happy and I’m happy myself,” Alcaraz said when asked about the pressure of playing in front of his home crowd.
“I don’t think about the pressure here, I just think about playing a good game and getting a good result. It’s a very special place for me, I’m enjoying every second here, so that’s all I can think about.»
While Coric’s quickness around the court may have forced Alcaraz to abandon his trademark shot on Friday, his approach still allowed the Cincy champion to disrupt the serve. That proved key for the top seed, who opened the first set with his only break in the fifth game.
The match saw a series of lengthy exchanges that tested the physicality of the players, with both players committing unforced errors. He got an early break to tie the second set at 2-2, but Coric’s efforts were to catch up with him, as he had no response to the world No.2’s furious forehands.
«It was a goal for me, trying to start the point at the beginning of the game,» Alcaraz said. «That’s what I’m looking for in every match, trying to attack on the return and really try to play with my forehand. I’m very comfortable playing that. I think I can hurt the opponent especially with the forehand and of course with the drop shot, so that’s key and I’m trying to do it in every match.
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