Birthday boy Alcaraz makes it to Madrid final


MADRID – On the attack during most of his semifinal win at the Madrid Open, Carlos Alcaraz He did his best after the match.

Alcaraz, the 17th seed, was presented with a cake on center court to celebrate his 20th birthday on Friday. Borna Couric 6-4, 6-3.

After staring at the giant cake, whose top was the size of a No. 20 tennis ball, Alcaraz took a knife and deftly sliced ​​off a thin slice to try it.

After the crowd sang “Happy Birthday” in Spanish, the defending champion told a packed Manolo Santana Stadium, “It’s really incredible to celebrate my birthday with all of you. Every year I celebrate my birthday here. When I turned 18, It happened, so I played. Rafael Nadal [in a loss]when i turned 19 i played [Cameron] nori [in a win]And now at the age of 20, I have reached the finals.”

Second number Alcaraj will face 65th ranking jan-lenard strouff The German came back from a set down in Sunday’s final aslan kartsev,

Alcaraz is aiming for his fourth title of the season after victories in Buenos Aires, Indian Wells and Barcelona. He is also preparing for the French Open this month.

If Alcaraz successfully defends his title in Madrid, he will regain his world No. 1 ranking by playing a match in Rome next week.

In his first matchup with Alcaraz, Coric surprised early on with his ability to counter his drop shots, so Alcaraz changed tactics and battered the Croatian to submission. They took a 3-2 lead and did not look back.

Alcaraz has only dropped one set – the first in the opener against him emile rusuvuori – in the tournament he won last year on his way to becoming the first US Open and youngest end number 1 in ATP history.

After that comeback on Rusuvori, Alcaraz acted fast Grigor Dimitrov, alexander zverev And Karen Khachanov to reach the semi-finals.

“It means a lot to me, playing the final again here in Madrid,” Alcaraz said. “It’s a special place for me and I have great memories from the time I came here to play [when I was] under 12 years. Of course last year was great. To be 20 years old like this is special, so I’m going to enjoy the final here and try to make all of Spain happy.”

Alcaraz have won their last 20 matches in Spain.

lady number 1 inga swotek and number 2 Aryan Sabalenka Will meet for the title on Saturday.

Ten days earlier, Struff had lost to Karatsev in qualifying, but he entered the draw as a lucky loser and made the most of it to reach the first final of his career.

His 4–6, 6–3, 6–4 victory over Karatsev also meant that Strouff was the first lucky loser to reach a Masters 1000 final.

Struff hit 15 aces and will hope that his big serve will help him dethrone Alcaraz. Strough has already upset the fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas In the quarter finals.

The final will be his ninth match in the tournament, compared to six for top seed Alcaraz.

Struff beat Alcaraz on clay at the French Open in 2021, while Alcaraz needed five sets to beat Struff at Wimbledon last year.

“It’s going to be different,” Struff said. “It’s in Spain, in Madrid. He’s 20-0 on Spanish clay courts, so it’s going to be very tough. I have to go for it or else I’ll have no chance. I’ll try my best to beat him and have my first win the title.”

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