Barcelona Open 2022: 17 years on, Carlos Alcaraz becomes youngest to win Barcelona title since Rafael Nadal

Alcaraz is expected to climb to No. 9 in the ATP Rankings on Monday, making him the youngest player to do so since Rafael Nadal did so exactly 17 years ago after winning his first Barcelona trophy.

Carlos Alcaraz at the Barcelona Open. (Image: Twitter/ ATP Tour)

Carlos Alcaraz added another unforgettable chapter to a young career full of memorable moments on Sunday in Barcelona. The fifth seed won the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell 6-3, 6-2 over mentor and eighth seed Pablo Carreno Busta. Alcaraz is expected to climb to No. 9 in the ATP Rankings on Monday, making him the youngest player to do so since Rafael Nadal did so exactly 17 years ago after winning his first Barcelona trophy.

“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’m really, really happy to be part of the [historic] Spanish list.”

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Teenager joins an illustrious list

Rafael Nadal, Juan Carlos Ferrero, and Carlos Moya are just a few of the Spanish legends who have won the Barcelona title. With three titles each, Alcaraz, Nadal, and Sunday’s Belgrade champion Andrey Rublev lead the ATP Tour this season. The final score may appear straightforward, but the day was anything but. Because of the rain, the semi-finals were moved to Sunday, and the 18-year-old needed three hours and 40 minutes to defeat Alex de Minaur in the season’s longest best-of-three match. The Australian had two match points to win in straight sets in that match. De Minaur had a short forehand with the court open on one of those match points, but he allowed Alcaraz a look at a passing shot, which the teen executed flawlessly.

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Carreno Busta had beaten sixth seed Diego Schwartzman in straight sets earlier in the day. But he was unable to match his countryman’s consistency, missing a forehand long at 2-2 to surrender the match’s first break and a short backhand on set point to surrender another service break.

Carreno Busta knew he needed to go for more to match Alcaraz’s shot weight, but he couldn’t find enough of a rhythm to trouble his younger opponent. In Barcelona a year ago, then-World No. 119 Alcaraz was eliminated in the first round by Frances Tiafoe in straight sets. He has now won the tournament.




WRITTEN BY
Sportslumo Desk

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