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Carlos Alcaraz: teenager takes his seat at tennis’s ‘top table’

Spaniard overcame the biggest names to win the Madrid Open

He has “been on his way for quite some time”, said John Westerby in The Times. And now it’s official: teenage sensation Carlos Alcaraz has taken his place at “tennis’s top table”. Last Sunday, just three days after his 19th birthday, the Spaniard swept aside world No. 3 Alexander Zverev 6-3, 6-1 to claim his second Masters 1000 title and move to six in the world rankings. 

Even more impressive than winning the Madrid Open was the way Alcaraz overcame the biggest names in men’s tennis en route to the final, said Adam Zagoria on Forbes. In the quarter-finals, he beat Rafael Nadal in three sets – and then repeated the feat in a superbly dramatic semi-final against the world No. 1, Novak Djokovic. Never before have Nadal and Djokovic – who have 41 Grand Slam titles between them – been knocked out of a clay court tournament by the same player. At the presentation ceremony on Sunday, the defeated Zverev jokingly told Alcaraz: “You are the best player in the world right now, even though you are five years old.” 

There can be little arguing with the first part of that statement, said Mike Dickson in the Daily Mail. Alcaraz is a player seemingly without weaknesses: “he strikes the ball early and supremely cleanly off both flanks” and regularly wrong-foots opponents with his “exquisite drop shot”. The French Open starts in a few days – and few would be surprised were the Spaniard to win it.

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