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Alcaraz defends his throne in Madrid

MADRID, 7 May.

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Alcaraz defends his throne in Madrid


The Spanish tennis player Carlos Alcaraz reissued his title this Sunday at the Mutua Madrid Open, the fourth Masters 1,000 of the season, after beating the surprise of the tournament, the German Jan-Lennard Struff, with a lot of work, in three sets 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 and after almost two and a half hours of the game.

The Murcian was not at his best level against an opponent who showed that his presence in the Manolo Santana final was no coincidence and that made things very difficult for him. Even so, he knew how to overcome the difficulties to add his fourth Masters 1,000 and his tenth title of his career, fourth in 2023, all with just turned 20 years.

His victory, in his fifth final of the year out of six events played, also allowed the man from El Palmar to be the first to defend the trophy in the Caja Mágica since his compatriot Rafa Nadal (2013 and 2014), and will also give him the option of returning to number one if he decides to play in Rome and occupy the top of the ranking in the assault on Roland Garros.

Despite not having his best afternoon with the 'drive', with which he was more erratic than usual and which prevented him from dominating more, the US Open champion got rid of a Struff, 'lucky loser' from the main draw , whose tactic of being very aggressive towards the rest and playing his trick well in the net gave him many returns until he could not stand the final improvement of the Spaniard, who finished the game at a much better level.

And that Struff's staging was not the best. Two double faults in his first service and a first 'break' that could have made him nervous, but had the opposite effect. From the rest he quickly showed Alcaraz that he was going to complicate things for him and bothered the defending champion at all times, who very soon lost his advantage on the scoreboard after giving up his serve in 'white'.

The German settled down and was able to counteract the base game of the first seed in the Caja Mágica, whose forehand didn't work for him and he didn't use the usual drop shot either. However, with 3-3 and 40-15 for the German, he ended up finding a 'break' ball and a new double fault from Struff gave him a break that he no longer wasted to close the set, despite having to lift with 5-4 another dangerous 0-40.

The statistics reflected a bad balance of winners-unforced errors by Alcaraz (6/12) and his problems with the 'drive' (8). He was not imposing his strength with the service either and he failed to improve these aspects despite the advantage on the scoreboard. Struff, far from giving up, raised his level and broke quickly to go 0-3.

The Spanish tennis player needed to react, but he ran into the resistance of a rival, sensational every time he approached the net, from where he knew how to save the numerous 'break' options he had in the fifth game. The German, sharp from the rest, especially with the two-handed backhand, scared him by further shortening the set, which he finally closed firmly from the serve and another level volley.

Without yet finding his best rhythm, the Murcian knew how to hold on to his options and hold the good level from the rest of the 'lucky loser', about to break at the start of the third and final set. From there, the game went towards his side, even more so when a great drop gave him a valuable breaking point that he did not let go.

The advantage on the scoreboard seemed to relax Alcaraz a little more and had the opposite effect on Struff, who began to make mistakes, also at the net where he no longer did as much damage, although he kept up the excitement until the end. The man from El Palmar shielded his serve, with whom he did not lose a point in his last three games, and had no problems staying on the throne in Madrid.