Carlos Alcaraz Emulates Nadal By Winning Second Consecutive Madrid Title - UBITENNIS
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Carlos Alcaraz Emulates Nadal By Winning Second Consecutive Madrid Title



Image via Madrid Open twitter

Carlos Alcaraz has become only the second man after Rafael Nadal to defend their title at the Madrid Open after ending the dream run of Germany’s Jan Lennard-Struff in a three-set epic.


Alcaraz, who dropped only two sets in the entire tournament, battled to a hard-fought 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, win over the world No.65 to claim his fourth title of the season and his 10th overall. The 20-year-old is the youngest player to defend a Masters 1000 title since Nadal at the 2006 Italian Open and has now won 21 consecutive Tour matches played on the clay in his home country of Spain.

In what was a roller-coaster battle at the Caja Magica, Alcaraz produced a total of 19 winners compared to 31 unforced errors en route to victory. He now leads Struff 2-1 in their head-to-head.

“It is so special for me to lift the trophy here in Madrid. It is always special to play in my country and to be able to be the champion here (in Madrid) is special,” Alcaraz told TennisTV afterwards. 
“(Playing) in front of my home crowd, family and friends for me is a special thing that I will never forget.”

Alcaraz had to contend with some fierce play from a resurgent Struff who had a fairytale run to the final. The German originally lost in qualifying on his 33rd birthday before being given a lucky loser spot into the main draw. Capitalizing on his opportunity, he scored back-to-back wins over Stefanos Tsitsipas and Aslan Karatsev to become the first lucky loser to reach the final of a Masters 1000 event since the series began in 1990.

Struff’s ability to return the ball quickly and deep frustrated a fired-up Alcaraz throughout the opener. The world No.2 got off to the perfect start by breaking instantly after a backhand volley from his opponent landed out. However, he lost his advantage two games later due to some inspired play coming from across the court. As the set progressed, Struff’s first serve began to wobble which paved the way for Alcaraz to break once more as he rallied to a 5-4 lead. Serving for the set, the Spaniard had to recover from a 0-40 deficit before sealing the lead with a blistering forehand winner.

Despite falling behind and facing the animated Spanish crowd, Struff refused to back down as he started the second frame guns blazing by winning 12 out of the first 16 points played to work his way to a 3-0 lead. Later on in the set, he prevailed in a marathon 15-minute service game that saw him save five break points. No matter what Alcaraz threw at him, Struff had all the answers as he forced the match into a decider. Becoming the sixth player this season to take a set off the reigning US Open champion.

With €1,105,265 in prize money and 1000 ranking points at stake, Alcaraz restored his lead in the decider as Struff began to weaken on the court. Orchestrating the crowd to get behind him, a single break in his favour guided him to the trophy. Alcaraz worked his way to his first championship point with a forehand smash at the net before a Struff shot landing out secured him the triumph. Prompting him to drop to the ground after nearly two-and-a-half hours of play.

“Jan was playing great and really aggressive. Sometimes I couldn’t play my game and I was waiting for my chance,” Alcaraz reflected.
“In the second set, I had a lot of chances to break his serve but I couldn’t do it. That was tough for me to lose the second set but I told myself that I had to be positive all the time.”

Besides paying tribute to his peer, Alcaraz also praised the support he received from the crowd throughout his run in Madrid. It is the second tournament he has won in his home country this season after Barcelona which he also won for the second year in a row. 

“Since my first ball (hit at the Madrid Open this year) the crowd has been cheering my name. It was really helpful for me,” he said.
“To have a lot of people behind you, supporting you and pushing you on during the bad moments has been amazing.”

Alcaraz’s win will move him to just five points behind Novak Djokovic in the ATP Pepperstone rankings when they are updated on Monday.



Team World One Win Away From Victory in Laver Cup

Team World take a huge 10-2 lead over Team Europe heading into the final day



Image via Laver Cup twitter

After losing the first four editions of the Laver Cup, Team World look set to win the event for a second time as the event reaches its conclusion tomorrow.


Team World Captain John McEnroe was thrilled with the day’s results but warned against complacency: “We’re just going to keep doing what we’re doing. The job’s not done but we’re pretty close.”

American duo Taylor Fritz and Frances Tiafoe both earned straight sets wins over Andrey Rublev and Hubert Hurkacz, while Felix Auger-Aliassime and Ben Shelton beat Hurkacz and Gael Monfils.

“I want to play well for the guys,” said Tiafoe after his singles victory. “I played really well tonight. Just being in a team environment is so foreign to us as tennis players, it’s such an individual sport.”

After winning his third singles match in three appearances at the Laver Cup, Fritz was also motivated to do well:

“Yesterday, all the guys played really well. I felt that and wanted to come out on court and show what I can do. That definitely motivated me. Any type of team environment, I feel like it always elevates my game. I feel like my record in team events is really strong because I have a team cheering for me. I get pumped up. I’m excited to play for them. It just adds more pressure and fire to it. I think I play better in those situations.”

The doubles was a typically dynamic and feisty affair, and after the match Shelton was full of praise for his partner:

“It’s amazing, when you play with a guy who serves and returns like Felix, is as athletic as him, and goes back for the overhead as strong as him, it’s a fun time,” said Shelton. “We call him ‘Laver Cup Felix’ because he turns into something special this week, just glad I got to share the court with him at least once.”

Auger-Aliassime returned the compliments: “The best comes out of me when I’m playing not only for myself but for team-mates. Ben carried me through the end of that match, it was tough for me to get it done.”

Casper Ruud, meanwhile, beat Tommy Paul for Europe’s only points so far.

Matches on the final day are worth three points each – meaning that Team Europe would have to win all four remaining matches to prevent Team World from winning the trophy.

T. Fritz def A. Rublev 6-2, 7-6
F. Tiafoe def H. Hurkacz 7-5, 6-3
F. Auger-Aliassime & B. Shelton def H.Hurkacz & G. Monfils 7-5, 6-4
C. Ruud def T. Paul 7-6, 6-2

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ATP RANKINGS UPDATE: Novak Djokovic, No.1 once more



After the US Open the Serbian champion reclaims top spot. Alexander Zverev is back in the Top 10


By Roberto Ferri

Don’t ever underestimate the heart of a champion”

Rudy Tomjanovich coined this maxim just after his Houston Rockets won the NBA championship in 1995. He was paying homage to Akeem Holajuwon. It perfectly suits the heart of Daniil Medvedev, who proved 99% of tennis fans in the world to be wrong, convinced as they were that he would lose the semifinal to former No 1 Carlos Alcaraz.

But his dream to win a second US Open, after his triumph in 2021, was shattered by another champion, whose heart and class is even greater: that’s Novak Djokovic, who affixes his seal on his return to No.1, equalling Margaret Court Smith’s record of 24 majors.

Djokovic dethroning Alcaraz is not the only change in the top 20: Sascha Zverev is back in the top 10 after almost one year and Ben Shelton, great protagonist of the Us Open, debuts in the top 20 best players in the world.

TOP 20

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A few comments:

Stefanos Tsitsipas, Andrei Rublev and Alexander Zverev gain 2 positions.

Ben Shelton devours 28 positions.

Sinner, Tiafoe, Norrie and Dimitrov lose one.

Casper Ruud and Karen Khachanov, runner up and semi-finalist respectively  at the 2022 US  Open, drop 4 positions.

One step forward for Fritz, de Minaur, Paul, Auger-Aliassime and Hurkacz.


From 12 to 19 November the 8 best players of the ranking based on the points earned in the ongoing solar season will be playing the Nitto ATP Finals in Turin.

Will Novak Djokovic succeed in winning a second straight title? He appears to be heading in the right direction.


Thanks to his triumph at the US Open the Serbian overtakes Alcaraz also in the Race to Turin.

Jannik Sinner holds fourth spot while Andrei Rublev overtakes Stefanos Tsitsipas and is now fifth.

The eighth position is occupied by Alexander Zverev.

Last year runner up, Casper Ruud is currently 10th. This means he would feature in Turin as a reserve.


The Next Gen Finals, dedicated to the best under 21s, (8 effectives and 2 reserves) of the season will take place this year in Gedda, Saudi Arabia.

The 2022 winner, Brandon Nakashima, will not be defending his title, since he was born in 2001.

PositionPlayerCountryPtsYOB ATP rank
6Van AsscheFrance597200469
12Llamas RuizSpain3702002133

Taking for granted that Alcaraz and, most likely Rune, will be playing the ATP Finals, we have included in the chart the 12 current top under 21s.


Besides Ben Shelton, other 11 players have achieved their career highest this week.

We tribute a double applause to the four players who are making their debut in the top 100.

The 25-year-old Croatian Borna Gojo, 22-year-old Australian Rinky Hijkata and the Swiss next gen Dominic Stricker all reap the reward for their brilliant runs at the US Open. Seyboth Wild, the Brazilian who stunned Medvedev in the first round of Roland Garros leaps to No.76 after winning the Challenger in Como last week.

Seyboth Wild76Brazil30

Translated by Kingsley Elliot Kaye

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COMMENT: Novak Djokovic Proves His Greatness At US Open



Love him, or hate him. But respect him.


No tennis player has ever been better than Novak Djokovic.

Even Rafa Nadal and Roger Federer have to take their hats off to Novak, and admire him.

Now that Rafa and Roger have left Djokovic on his own stage at least for now, tennis fans love Novak.


Djokovic’s performance on Sunday evening in the U.S. Open final was simply amazing. Daniil Medvedev also played his heart out, but Djokovic went one step further. He was sensational.

It was a thrill-a-minute three-set match. It lasted well into the night after starting at mid-afternoon. The second set alone lasted 104 minutes.

Djokovic was the winner, 6-3, 7-6 (5), 6-3, but New York still loves 2021 champion Medvedev.


At 36, the oldest U.S. Open men’s champion ever, Djokovic obviously has a special place in his heart for the number four. It’s the number of times he has won this tournament and the 24th time he has won a Grand Slam title.

The number 24 also was displayed prominently on the white jacket. Novak, his team members and family wore for the victory celebration as a tribute to the No. 24 jersey of deceased friend Kobe Bryant.

Djokovic lost his footing at least three times in the tight second set, stumbling to the surface once, apparently due to the length of the rallies.

Djokovic could look like he was almost completely wiped out of it physically one minute, and then play like Superman the next minute.


Both men played great tennis, especially in the thrill-a-second second set in which Medvedev gained one set point in the 12th game before Djokovic recovered to force a tiebreaker.

Medvedev appeared to be in charge after out-playing Novak to win one of his drop shots to take a 5-4 lead in the tiebreaker. The match may have been decided on the next three points, all won by Djokovic on errors by the 6-6 Russian.

The big question now is what happens next January in the Australian Open. Right now, Djokovic probably wants to play . . . and win what has been his favorite tournament as far as success. But things can change quickly for players in their mid-30s. Just ask Roger or Rafa.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at

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