Young Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz won Sunday’s final of the ATP 500 tournament on grass at Queen’s, London, against Australian Alex de Minaur 6-4, 6-4, a victory that allows him to become world number one again.
Eight days before the start of Wimbledon, Alcaraz, 20, won his first trophy on grass, for only his third tournament on this surface. The Spaniard is thus guaranteed to return to the standings on Monday ahead of the Serbian Novak Djokovic, who had recovered the world throne earlier this month thanks to his final victory at Roland Garros, his 23rd Grand Slam title.
“An amazing week”
In particular, he succeeds a certain Rafael Nadal, winner in 2008 in this tournament, just before his first triumph at Wimbledon after a legendary final in five sets against Roger Federer. “It means a lot to have my name on this trophy,” admitted the player after the match. “It helps me a lot to arrive at Wimbledon as world number one, for me it’s incredible,” he also admitted.
In the final, facing the 18th player in the world, much more accustomed to the surface than him since he won the Eastbourne tournament in 2021, Alcaraz was very comfortable, especially on the fly, winning 67% of the points at the net. “I didn’t start the tournament very well. I had to adapt my movements on the grass, but it was an incredible week, with a lot of energy and quality,” he said.
His seven aces, against one for his opponent, were often precious, like the one who erased the first break point of the match in the 8th game of the first set.
De Minaur, he cracked at the worst time. At 4-4 and 30-30, after an excellent first ball, he sent a two-handed backhand near the net in the middle of the corridor, before conceding the break on a forehand too long (5-3). It was again on an ace, on his second set point, that Alcaraz won the first set.
An alert for Alcaraz
The London public held their breath when a physio appeared at that moment to massage and strap the Spaniard’s right thigh, the one that had betrayed him against ‘Djoko’ in Paris. And De Minaur, with his excellent footwork and delicious touch, gave him a lot of trouble. But in vain.
“It’s been a great week for me. We were close to each other, but I couldn’t get the upper hand today. (Carlos was) too good,” conceded the Australian.
\ud83c\udfc6 First grass title for Carlitos
\ud83c\uddea\ud83c\uddf8Alcaraz beats De Miñaur\ud83c\udde6\ud83c\uddfa (64 64) in Queens final to win his 1st grass title
— Game Tweet & Match (@WTATPcoverage) June 25, 2023
At 1-1 in the second set, his magnificent retro drop shot in extension forced the admiration of Alcaraz to the point that he reached out to type in his opponent’s. But when an opening presented itself to redo the hole, he did not feel. At 2-2, 30-30, de Minaur followed through with an unforced error and a double fault, paving the way for success for the Spaniard.
With authority and power, like this incredible forehand slap at 6-4, 4-2, clocked at 171 km / h when the ball was almost stationary.
There was a bit of a 0-30 scare when he served for the match, but Alcaraz racked up four points to become the first Under-21 player to win his first grass-court final since Richard Gasquet against Max Mirnyi, in Nottingham in 2005.