Carlos Alcaraz, the man who has won every career ATP final he has played, outlast defending champion Alexander Zverev to lift his second Masters 1000 trophy in Madrid on Sunday.
The 19-year-old will reach a new career-high of No. 6 in the ATP Rankings from Monday, having captured his fourth title thus far into the 2022 season, following triumphs in Rio, Miami, Barcelona, and Madrid.
In his on-court interview, he said: “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.”
Further remarking: “I would say this is the best week of my life.”
On his way to the top, the talented Spaniard recorded victories over three Top-5 players, including 21-Grand Slam champion Rafael Nadal, World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, and Zverev in the championship match.
“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,” he added.
During the trophy ceremony celebrated at the Manolo Santana Stadium, Zverev, 25, shared a few words about the clay-court event’s champion: “I want to congratulate Carlitos. Right now, you are the best player in the world.”
“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.”
The German, a two-time champion in Madrid, ousted fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas Saturday night, 6-4, 3-6, 6-2, to reach his third final at the venue.
After his match against the Greek, the 19-ATP titlist came back to court to hit a few extra balls ahead of his final with Alcaraz.
Ahead of Sunday’s final, the players hit the court at the Caja Magica, their first encounter on clay, their third Head2Head overall meeting.
The El Palmar-born player, who did not face a break point all week, set off to a fast start, dominating his rival to produce a break of serve and lead 4-2.
He would hold, continuing to serve for the match, sealing the opener 6-3 in just 31 minutes.
Early in the second set, the Murcia native, displaying a full shots repertoire, including his sharp drop shot, took a 2-1 advantage.
On the other side of the net, Zverev struggled, hitting double faults while losing confidence in his game as he failed volleys into the net, which he usually does not miss.
Dictating the rhythm from the baseline and approaching the net, showcasing top-level tennis, Alcaraz would advance, breaking his opponent three times across the set, surging against his rival 6-1 as Zverev hit two consecutive double faults.
According to Infosysstats, Alcaraz won 25 of the last 34 points in his win over the Hamburg native.
The Spanish player fired 12 winners, recording 11 unforced errors to Zverev’s seven winners and 25 unforced errors.
Moreover, the champion won 89 percent of his first-serve points, 73 percent with his second compared to his adversary’s 61 and 25, respectively.
The teenager became the sixth tennis player in the Open Era to set off a 5-0 career record, earning five titles from five tour-level finals.
Last season, he captured his maiden ATP title in Umag at the Plava Laguna Croatia Open, sailing past Frenchman Richard Gasquet, rounding out an impressive season by emerging victorious at the Intesa Sanpaolo Next Gen ATP Finals in November.
At the time, age 18, he had reached a career high of ranked No. 32; many things have changed since there, physically and mentally, though the talent and the work made by the team led by Juan Carlos Ferrero continues to translate each time Alcaraz steps into a tennis court with brilliance.
Update: Alcaraz will not contest the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome next week. He will take time out to rest and recover, returning to play in Roland-Garros, running from May 22nd.