The 20-year-old Spaniard is the youngest player to successfully defend an ATP Masters 1000 title since Rafael Nadal at Monte-Carlo and Rome in 2005–2006.
Carlos Alcaraz won the Mutua Madrid Open by defeating German lucky loser Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 to win his fifth ATP Masters 1000 championship. The 20-year-old Spaniard is the youngest player to successfully defend an ATP Masters 1000 title since Rafael Nadal at Monte-Carlo and Rome in 2005–2006, joining him as the only back-to-back Madrid champions in tournament history. After playing his first match in Rome, Alcaraz will move up to No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings with his 29th victory of the year and 10th tour-level title.
“For me it is so, so special,” Alcaraz said. “To lift the trophy here in Madrid. In my country. It is always special to play and to be able to do a good result here and [being] a champion is so special. In front of my home crowd, my family, my friends. Everyone close to me. For me it is a special feeling that I will never forget.”
“It was a really tough match,” Alcaraz said. “Jan was playing great, really aggressive. In the second set I had a lot of chances to break his serve and I didn’t take it and it was tough for me to lose it. I told myself that I had to be positive all the time and that I would have my chances and I think I did it in the third set.”
Throughout the two hours and 25 minutes of the final, Alcaraz struggled with his serve at times, only winning 60% (27/45) of his first-serve points in the first two sets. Despite this, the top seed fought valiantly and escaped a German attack bombardment. In the third set, he struck nine winners to win, unleashing his powerful groundstrokes with authority and accuracy at the approaching Struff.
Alcaraz has now defeated Struff 21 times in a row on clay courts in Spain, and he now leads the all-time series 2-1. Struff, 33, was hoping to become just the fourth player and the first in more than 20 years to win his first tour-level trophy at an ATP Masters 1000. He was the first lucky loser to reach an ATP Masters 1000 final since the series began in 1990. On his way to his second tour-level final, Struff defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas and atoned for his qualifying defeat to Aslan Karatsev, moving up to No. 28 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings.
This year, Alcaraz has claimed four titles at the tour level. He won on clay in Buenos Aires and Barcelona and on hard in Indian Wells to win the title. He took the lead in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race to Turin with his victory in the Spanish capital. Alcaraz hasn’t taken the lead in the Live Race before this season. “Once again it has been amazing. The crowd, my people, since the first day, were cheering my name,” Alcaraz added. “It is really amazing to have a lot of people behind you and supporting you and pushing you on.”