ATP Tour wrap: 18-year-old Alcaraz takes out Croatia title as Ruud continues winning form

TEENAGER Carlos Alcaraz and Norwegian Casper Ruud have claimed the Croatia Open and Swiss Open respectively overnight, with the 18-year-old Spaniard taking out his maiden tour-level trophy to become the youngest ATP Tour champion in over a decade, as Ruud claimed his third title for the season in Gstaad.

Seventh seed Alcaraz had an excellent run to the final, and it did not stop there as he overcame veteran Frenchman Richard Gasquet in straight sets, 6-2 6-2. Requiring just 76 minutes, Alcaraz fired on all cylinders with a 78 per cent winning rate off his first serve, and won over half of his second serve points to back up his form. Alcaraz also converted four of his eight break points, as Gasquet struggled in comparison as Alcaraz saved all three opportunities.

”It’s amazing. I have a lot of emotions. I’m really, really happy with this victory, this win, my first ATP [title],” Alcaraz said. “I’m going to enjoy this moment a lot.”

“I had a lot of good moments in this tournament. I beat five great tennis players,” Alcaraz said. “I think that I grew up a lot in this tournament and I keep a lot of experience from this tournament. It’s going to be useful for the future.”

“It was tough for me to play [with] full intensity,” Gasquet said. “I had a tough match yesterday. It was tough, and especially with a guy like Carlos, who is playing really fast with a lot of energy and spin.”

“He’s playing unbelievable. He’s only 18 and of course he has a great future and I just couldn’t play at his level and his intensity. That was the key of the match and he didn’t lose a point. He played well, very solid. He’s a great player.”

In Switzerland, Ruud overcame another Frenchman in Hugo Gaston to claim a 6-3 6-2 victory in 96 minutes, recording his fourth Tour-level title in the process – and second in as many weeks after taking out the Nordea Open last week. Despite coming in with plenty of confidence, Ruud explained that overcoming the left-hander required a strong mindset.

“It was tough,” Ruud said. “Out of these past two weeks, this was definitely the toughest match for me against Hugo. He plays very fast and doesn’t give you much rhythm. He can play drop shots and hit winners from anywhere. I really had to step up in the big points and luckily I was able to do so today.”

“When you win a tournament you have to beat many good players on the way and it was the same this week,” Ruud said. “Every match was good and every match I played well. When you are in the final of a tournament you will give everything no matter what, and that is what I did today.”

In his maiden final, 20-year-old Gaston more than proved that there is more to come.

“Today it was a really tough match, Casper played so well,” Gaston said. “I tried to do my best, but I am happy overall with my week. I hope I can continue like this. It is amazing to play in a ATP Tour final. Now I need some rest for my body, but I feel good.”


[7] Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) defeated [4] Richard Gasquet (FRA) 6-2 6-2


[3] Casper Ruud (NOR) defeated Hugo Gaston (FRA) 6-3 6-2


Picture credit: ATP Tour

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