Alcaraz destroys Daniil; returns to number one

SPANISH teenage sensation Carlos Alcaraz has returned to the top of the ATP Tour’s world rankings after a stunning straight sets demolition of former number one, Daniil Medvedev in the Indian Wells final. The 19-year-old made it look easy as he won his third ATP1000 Masters title thanks to a 70-minute, 6-3 6-2 domination of his Russian opponent.

After reaching the year-end world number one ranking last year, Alcaraz had to watch on as Novak Djokovic regained his place at the top following the Australian Open, but the rising Spaniard took back the mantle in the first leg of the Sunshine Double. Alcaraz did not drop a set at the tournament, and minus Djokovic who was not allowed into the United States due to his vaccination status, romped to victory and snatched back the top spot.

“It means a lot to me. To recover the No. 1 [ranking] is crazy for me,” Alcaraz said post-match. “But especially to lift the trophy here for me means a lot… I love this tournament. I really enjoy my time here and of course I felt the love from the people from day one. For me, it’s amazing to complete these 10 days like this.”

Alcaraz only served the one ace in the final, but won 81 and 58 per cent of his first and second serve points off a 76 per cent clip, making Grand Slam champion Medvedev look second rate at times. On all three occasions where the Spaniard brought up a break point, he capitalised, leading to the 6-3 6-2 victory without ever facing a break point himself.

The new world number one will head to Miami as reigning champion in a bid to add a fourth ATP1000 Masters title to his growing CV. With three of those titles to his name, Alcaraz is second in history behind compatriot Rafael Nadal (six) in terms of ATP1000 trophies before turning 20. The fact Medvedev was on a 19-match and three-tournament winning streak made the victory all the more impressive for the Spanish young gun.

“Of course winning a tournament, it gives you a lot of confidence [entering Miami],” Alcaraz said. “I’m playing great. Of course today, the conditions today were pretty tough. Of course Daniil didn’t play at his best, obviously. All I can say is I’m really happy with my performance, the way that I [was] playing this tournament. I’m looking forward to playing this level in Miami as well.”

Alcaraz has a bye in the first round of Miami, with either Argentinian Facundo Bagnis or a qualifier scheduled for the second round at the ATP1000 event.

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