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Madrid Masters: Alcaraz holds nerve to end lucky loser Struff’s run and defend title

The Spaniard scored a 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 win over lucky loser Struff

Carlos Alcaraz, Madrid 2023 Carlos Alcaraz, Madrid 2023 | © AI / Reuters / Panoramic
Mutua Madrid Open •Final • completed
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Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz, the top seed, defeated German lucky loser Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 in two hours and 25 minutes to win the Madrid Masters final at the Caja Magica on Sunday.

Alcaraz, who turned 20 during the tournament, is the youngest player to successfully defend an ATP Masters 1000 title since Rafael Nadal at Monte-Carlo and Rome in 2005-06. This was the fifth ATP Masters Series title of his career and the 10th overall at the ATP Tour level.

“For me it is so so special,” Alcaraz said as quoted by the ATP Tour website. “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 be 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.”

Everyone close to me. For me it is a special feeling that I will never forget.

Carlos Alcaraz

The Spaniard started the first set with a break to go up 2-0 before Struff broke back. Alcaraz got another break to win the first set 6-4. Struff took the early lead and held on to it to win the second set 6-3 but the Spaniard was too strong in the decider and went on to win the title in Madrid for the second year in a row.

This was the second time that Alcaraz had been taken to three sets this fortnight. Earlier in the tournament, the Spaniard, ranked No 2, beat Finn Emil Ruusuvuori (2-6, 6-4, 6-2), Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, the No 26 seed (6-2, 7-5), German Alexander Zverev, the No 13 seed (6-1, 6-2), Russian Karen Khachanov, the No 10 seed (6-4, 7-5) and Croat Borna Coric, the No 17 seed (6-4, 6-3).

Jan-Lennard Struff, Madrid 2023
Tennis – Madrid Open – Park Manzanares, Madrid, Spain – May 5, 2023 Germany’s Jan-Lennard Struff reacts during his semi final match against Russia’s Aslan Karatsev (Laurent Lairys/Panoramic)

Struff, ranked No 65 in the world, came into the tournament as a lucky loser after losing in the final round of qualifying.

In the main draw, the German defeated Italian Lorenzo Sonego (6-3, 6-1), American Ben Shelton, the No 32 seed (4-6, 7-6 (4), 7-5), Serb Dusan Lajovic (6-7 (2), 6-3, 6-3), Argentinian Pedro Cachin (7-6 (7), 6-7 (7), 6-3), Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, the No 4 seed (7-6 (5), 5-7, 6-3) and Russian qualifier Aslan Karatsev (4-6, 6-3, 6-4) in the previous rounds of the tournament.

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