Carlos Alcaraz goes for Spanish double, No. 1 spot at Madrid Open

Carlos Alcaraz will get one other probability to defend a title at dwelling in Spain, and transfer nearer to regaining the No. 1 rating.

Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz celebrates after successful the Barcelona Open within the remaining match in opposition to Greece’s Stefanos Tsitsipas (REUTERS)

After successful in Barcelona for a second yr in a row final week, the 19-year-old Alcaraz stayed in Spain to attempt to repeat as Madrid Open champion and virtually assure a return to the highest of the rankings.

Daniil Medvedev shall be his prime challenger on the clay-court event after the withdrawals of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic due to accidents. Defending girls’s champion Ons Jabeur additionally will not play in Madrid this yr due to an harm.

The second-ranked Alcaraz is chasing Djokovic for the No. 1 spot after having traded the highest rating with him 3 times this season. If he wins the title in Madrid, Alcaraz would solely have to play one match in Rome to be again at No. 1. The Spaniard also can get again to the highest by taking part in not less than one match in Madrid and successful in Rome.

Alcaraz had by no means efficiently defended a title till successful the Barcelona Open this yr, which gave him his third title of the season and ninth total in his spectacular younger profession. He was the primary participant to repeat as Barcelona champion since Nadal received there 3 times in a row from 2016-18.

“I’m a bit tired after Barcelona, but the focus is already on this tournament (in Madrid),” Alcaraz stated. “I’ve gained a lot of experience since my win here last year. I’ve grown both as a player and as a person. I’m still the same person, but maybe a bit more mature.”

Alcaraz beat each Nadal and Djokovic on his approach to his Madrid title final yr. He stated taking part in at dwelling didn’t add any further stress.

“It’s always motivating to have my family, friends and local fans supporting me,” Alcaraz stated. “I don’t see it as pressure. It’s a pleasure to be able to play in front of my people in Spain. It’s different than anywhere else. It’s a unique feeling.”

4 different gamers have an opportunity to turn out to be No. 1 heading into the French Open, together with Medvedev, who didn’t play in Madrid final yr. The others are Casper Ruud, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev, who would wish to do nicely each in Madrid and Rome. Tsitsipas misplaced the Barcelona remaining to Alcaraz, whereas Rublev is coming off a title in Monte Carlo and Ruud received in Estoril.

Jabeur pulled out due to an injured left calf, although each Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka, the 2 highest-ranked gamers on the earth, shall be taking part in within the event on the Caja Magica (“Magic Box”) tennis advanced within the Spanish capital.

The event was expanded this yr, with a much bigger essential draw and longer schedule.

Within the first spherical of the ladies’s draw on Tuesday, Ana Bogdan rallied to defeat Anna Bondar 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (2) in a match that lasted greater than three hours. Sorana Cirstea beat American Lauren Davis 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, whereas Karolina Muchova defeated Anett Kontaveit 6-2, 6-2.

This story has been revealed from a wire company feed with out modifications to the textual content.

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