Carlos Alcaraz’s legend continues to grow in the Caja Mágica, where on Sunday he will attempt to defend the title and extend his own chapter in the history of the Madrid tournament. The defending champion reached his second consecutive final at the Mutua Madrid Open and his fifth of the 2023 season, much to the delight of the home fans, who spurred him on from the first point.
The Murcia native will be bidding to become just the second player to successfully protect his crown in the history of the men’s singles event. Only his compatriot Rafael Nadal, who claimed the trophy in both 2013 and 2014, has managed a repeat success in the Spanish capital.
On the day of his 20th birthday, the world No. 2 saw off Borna Coric 6-4, 6-3 after one hour and 40 minutes of tennis in the Manolo Santana Stadium. After beating Emil Ruusuvuori, Grigor Dimitrov and Alexander Zverev en route to the semi-final, the man from Murcia has inflicted his final blow before contesting the final.
Alcaraz had to navigate a match that was hugely demanding from the get-go. After a first game that lasted over 10 minutes, in which he failed to convert the break points he earned, the Spaniard took some time to settle into his game. His drop shots lacked precision and the match was wide open against a Borna who was bursting with energy.
With the Balkan on the attack early on, Alcaraz saved a break point when the scoreboard read 1-2 before claiming the only break of the set in game five. With both players starting to find their stride, Alcaraz upped his game on the baseline to protect his slender lead.
He would eventually seal the first set with a bullet cross-court forehand. It had taken Carlos over an hour to consolidate his lead in the Manolo Santana Stadium in what was one of the most intense matches of the week.
Spurred on by his lead, the champion set his sights on the finish line. Against a competitive Coric, Alcaraz had to win the match on the finer details. An exchange of breaks in the third and fifth games underlined the Murcia native’s capacity to hang tough, before he finally broke free to close out a straight-set victory.
On Sunday, Alcaraz will be vying for the fourth ATP Masters 1000 of his career. The Spaniard has a 9-3 record in singles finals on tour, including a 3-0 return when the title at stake is in the ATP Tour’s highest category.
In the final of the 2023 Mutua Madrid Open, Carlos will face the winner of the match that brings an end to the day’s play in the men’s draw between the German Jan-Lennard Struff and former world No. 14 Aslan Karatsev. Both of his potential opponents came through qualifying.