Monday, May 6

Alcaraz goes for Spanish double, No. 1 spot at Madrid Open

MADRID — Carlos Alcaraz will get one other probability to defend a title at house in Spain, and transfer nearer to regaining the No. 1 rating.

After profitable in Barcelona for a second yr in a row final week, the 19-year-old Alcaraz stayed in Spain to attempt to repeat as Madrid Open champion and virtually assure a return to the highest of the rankings.

Daniil Medvedev will likely be his prime challenger on the clay-court match after the withdrawals of Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic due to accidents. Defending ladies’s champion Ons Jabeur additionally gained’t play in Madrid this yr due to an damage.

The second-ranked Alcaraz is chasing Djokovic for the No. 1 spot after having traded the highest rating with him thrice this season. If he wins the title in Madrid, Alcaraz would solely must play one match in Rome to be again at No. 1. The Spaniard also can get again to the highest by taking part in at the least one match in Madrid and profitable in Rome.

Alcaraz had by no means efficiently defended a title till profitable the Barcelona Open this yr, which gave him his third title of the season and ninth general in his spectacular younger profession. He was the primary participant to repeat as Barcelona champion since Nadal gained there thrice in a row from 2016-18.

“I’m a bit tired after Barcelona, but the focus is already on this tournament (in Madrid),” Alcaraz stated. “I’ve gained a lot of experience since my win here last year. I’ve grown both as a player and as a person. I’m still the same person, but maybe a bit more mature.”

Alcaraz beat each Nadal and Djokovic on his solution to his Madrid title final yr. He stated taking part in at house didn’t add any further stress.

“It’s always motivating to have my family, friends and local fans supporting me,” Alcaraz stated. “I don’t see it as pressure. It’s a pleasure to be able to play in front of my people in Spain. It’s different than anywhere else. It’s a unique feeling.”

Four different gamers have an opportunity to develop into No. 1 heading into the French Open, together with Medvedev, who didn’t play in Madrid final yr. The others are Casper Ruud, Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev, who would wish to do effectively each in Madrid and Rome. Tsitsipas misplaced the Barcelona closing to Alcaraz, whereas Rublev is coming off a title in Monte Carlo and Ruud gained in Estoril.

Jabeur pulled out due to an injured left calf, although each Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka, the 2 highest-ranked gamers on the planet, will likely be taking part in within the match on the Caja Magica (“Magic Box”) tennis complicated within the Spanish capital.

The match was expanded this yr, with an even bigger principal draw and longer schedule.

In the primary spherical of the ladies’s draw on Tuesday, Ana Bogdan rallied to defeat Anna Bondar 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (2) in a match that lasted greater than three hours. Sorana Cirstea beat American Lauren Davis 6-3, 3-6, 6-1, whereas Karolina Muchova defeated Anett Kontaveit 6-2, 6-2.

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