Photographs: Getty Images
Alcaraz Reigns Supreme
Carlos Alcaraz continued his incredible form, defeating compatriot Pablo Carreno Busta 6-3, 6-2 to win the Barcelona Open.
The victory sees the 18-year-old Spanish star rise to a career-high ATP ranking of No. 9, making him the second-youngest player in the history of the ATP to be ranked in the top 10. His idol, Rafael Nadal was the youngest.
"It means a lot. I've watched this tournament since I was a kid. I always wished to play in this tournament and of course to be able to win this tournament," Alcaraz said in his on-court interview.
"I've always been a normal guy. I'm not scared of fame. I'm not going to change the person I am.
"I'm happy to know that at 18 years old I'm in the Top 10, and to do it [at] the same age as my idol Rafa (Nadal) is impressive."
Earlier in the day, Alcaraz overcame Alex de Minaur in a three-set epic that lasted 3 hours and 39 minutes. The Spaniard fought back from the brink of defeat, breaking the Australian’s serve and saving two match points when he was serving for the match.
Despite his gruelling semi-final, Alcaraz showed no signs of fatigue throughout the all-Spanish final.
As witnessed so many times this year, Alcaraz’s shot-making and agility around the court was breathtaking and often left his opponent in awe.
The young gun will look to continue his stunning form at the upcoming Madrid and Rome ATP 1000 Masters tournaments.
Rublev Spoils Djokovic’s Homecoming
Andrey Rublev ruined Novak Djokovic’s homecoming, defeating the world No. 1 6-2, 6-7 (4), 6-0 to win the Serbian Open.
Rublev needed to overcome a boisterous home crowd and a rejuvenated Djokovic to win this third tour-level title of the year.
The win capped off a difficult week for the Russian. Earlier in the week, Rublev learned he would not be able to play at Wimbledon this year after the All-England Club announced they would not allow any Russian or Belarusian players to compete.
With both men holding their opening two service games, Rublev took the ascendency with some phenomenal groundstrokes to break the Serbian’s serve in consecutive games. Despite Rublev saving five set points in the second set, Djokovic managed to edge him in the tiebreak to take the contest to a decider.
With his power proving too much for Djokovic to handle, the Russian breezed through the final set.
Post-match, Rublev was full of praise for the world No. 1.
“It is big to play against you and share the court for the second time,” Rublev said.
“I hope we have more battles. I feel so great here, it is a very nice city. It feels really special. I want to say a big thanks to all the spectators for supporting all the players all week. To see full crowds again is special for all of us.”
After disappointing second-round exits at both the Miami and Monte Carlo Masters 1000 tournaments, Rublev will take some form and confidence leading into the French Open.
Djokovic was staying positive after his disappointing defeat in his hometown.
“Things are progressing slowly but surely, Paris is the big goal and hopefully by Paris, I’ll be ready,” said the two-time Serbia Open winner.
Djokovic’s focus will now turn to Rome and Madrid before he attempts to equal Rafael Nadal’s record of 21 major titles at the French Open.