MURCIA’S Carlos Alcaraz capped a perfect week at the Barcelona Open to outplay Stefanos Tsitsipas in a high-quality display on Sunday

The 19-year-old from El Palmar did not lose a set during the tournament to successfully defend the title that he first lifted last year.

It was his third ATP tour title of the year after suffering an injury lay-off that forced him to miss January’s Australian Open.

Alcaraz still remains behind Novak Djokovic’s world number spot, but with the Serbian troubled by an elbow problem and out of the Madrid Open and Rafael Nadal struggling to play on clay at all as he battles a hip injury, Alcaraz could go into next month’s French Open as the favourite.

Although he dropped serve in the third game of yesterday’s final, Alcaraz showed no further sign of nerves as he powered to a 79-minute triumph against the world number five Tsitsipas.

After winning his ninth career title, Alcaraz said: “It’s incredible. To feel this energy and lift the trophy in Barcelona in front of my family and friends, and most members of my team are here as well.”

“Playing this level and to lift the trophy in front of them is a good feeling for me.”

The young Murcian has some rest coming up before the Madrid Open and won’t train there until Wednesday, as he’s exempt as first seed from the opening round, which means his first macth will not be until Friday or Saturday.


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