Miami, April 4 (IANS) Teenage Spanish tennis player Carlos Alcaraz clinched the biggest ATP Tour title of his career, defeating sixth seed Casper Ruud of Norway, 7-5, 6-4 to lift the Miami Open trophy at Hard Rock Stadium on Monday (IST).
This is 18-year-old Alcaraz’s maiden ATP Masters 1000 title and his third tour-level crown and it made him the youngest Miami men’s champion in the tournament’s 37-year history. Alcaraz also became the third-youngest ATP Masters 1000 champion overall, spanning 283 events from 1990, according to atptour.com.
Alcaraz, who is the first Spanish champion at the event, will rise to a career-high of No. 11 in the latest ATP Rankings when they are released later on Monday.
“I have no words to describe how I feel right now,” Alcaraz said after the one hour, 52-minute contest. “It’s so special to win my first Masters 1000 here in Miami. I have an unbelievable team with me and family… I’m so happy with the win and my team.”
Only American Michael Chang (Toronto 1990) and Spain’s Rafael Nadal (2005 Monte Carlo) were younger that Alcaraz’s 18 years and 333 days when they won their first ATP Masters 1000 titles. Alcaraz replaced Serbia’s Novak Djokovic as the youngest Miami champion, with the world No. 1 taking the 2007 title at the age of 19, when Alcaraz was three years old.
“I knew that Casper is playing unbelievable. He has a big forehand. I tried to play to his backhand first and attack all the time,” Alcaraz said of his strategy. “I tried not to let him dominate the match. Forehand down the line, backhand down the line was a pretty good key for me.”
Ruud, who was competing in his 10th ATP Tour final, was seeking the second hard-court trophy of his career.
In addition to becoming the youngest winner in tournament history, Alcaraz becomes the first Spanish male player to claim the title following eight previous final appearances, including five by Nadal.