Madrid Open: Carlos Alcaraz retains title
World number two Carlos Alcaraz retained his Madrid Open title with a three-set victory over Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff.
The 20-year-old Spaniard won 6-4 3-6 6-3 for his fourth trophy on the ATP Tour this season, and 10th overall.
Alcaraz is the second man to defend his title in Madrid, after compatriot Rafael Nadal did so in 2014.
He will replace Novak Djokovic at the top of the world rankings by simply playing in Rome next week.
Alcaraz’s victory in Madrid means he has won back-to-back tournaments, having won the Barcelona Open in April, and demonstrates why he is among the favourites for the French Open, which begins on 28 May.
After he broke lucky loser Struff’s serve in the opening game in Caja Magica, his opponent fought back to remove Alcaraz’s advantage in the fourth.
But after Struff held serve, US Open champion Alcaraz reeled off three straight games, later saving three break points before making the most of his first set point.
Struff, the world number 65, raced into a 3-0 lead at the start of the second set before saving five break points to go 4-1 up.
Despite failing to convert a break point, the 33-year-old went on to serve out the set to take the final into a decider – at which point Alcaraz found another gear.
He broke to take a 3-1 lead and, while missing out on two further break points, never relinquished his advantage and served out the match to love.
Alcaraz, who like women’s champion Aryna Sabalenka celebrated his birthday on Friday, has lost just two matches in 2023.