The Spanish Carlos Alcaraz defeated this Sunday the Norwegian Casper Ruud and became the youngest champion in Miami Masters 1000 historyalso ending the tennis curse of his country in this prestigious tournament.
At 18 years and 11 months, Alcaraz beat Ruud by a score of 7-5 and 6-4 to lift the first major trophy of his meteoric career.
Alcaraz is the first Spaniard to succeed in Miami and the earliest champion of the 37 editions of the tournament, beating Serbian Novak Djokovic (19 years and 10 months in 2007).
The Spanish began to confirm his immense potential in a final which the contenders to succeed the ‘Big 3’ of the ATP made up of Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer, all absent from Miami for different reasons, could not reach.
In the set of Masters 1000 tournaments, Alcaraz is the third youngest champion after the American Michael Chang in Toronto in 1990 (18 years and 157 days) and Nadal in Monte Carlo in 2005 (18 years and 318 days).
Nadal himself, the tennis player with the most Grand Slam titles (21), was never able to succeed in Miami, where he lost up to five finals (2005, 2008, 2011, 2014, 2017).
Neither did the Spanish finalists Sergi Bruguera (1997), Carlos Moyá (2003) and David Ferrer (2013).
Alcaraz ended the drought in a final in which he exhibited not only his exuberant tennis but an unusual cold blood to overcome a 1-4 deficit in the first set.
Ruud, with a higher hierarchy in the ATP ranking (8th place to 16th for Alcaraz), was also a debutant in a Masters 1000 final and could not recover from his rival’s comeback in the first set.
The Spanish came warning of his potential since he knocked out Stefanos Tsitsipas, then world number three, in September and became the earliest tennis player to reach the US Open quarterfinals in the Open era (since 1968).
In February he became the youngest to win an ATP 500 category tournament, with his triumph in Rio de Janeiro, and to enter the top-20 of the ATP among active players.
In March he played some exciting semifinals against his idol Nadal, the only one who has been able to win it in his 20 games of 2022 along with Matteo Berrettini at the Australian Open.
– From promise to reality –
At the start of the game, Alcaraz paid the nerves to see himself in the first grand finale of his life.
In too much of a hurry to finish the points, the Spaniard was more imprecise than usual and Ruud took advantage of it to break his serve at the first opportunity and take a 3-0 lead.
The Norwegian started very confident on the second serve and sharpened with his powerful forehand.
Ruud was able to save a break point in the fifth game but Alcaraz continued rowing until breaking his service in the seventh.
Alcaraz breathed as he placed 4-4 and regained the confidence to unleash his devastating forehand and exquisite drop shots at the net.
Trust had changed sides and Ruud’s tennis regressed before the acceleration of Alcaraz, who achieved a break in the eleventh game and finished off the set with his service, launching a cry of relief.
No player has been able to beat Alcaraz this year after losing the first set and Ruud couldn’t stop the Spaniard from taking a 3-0 lead in the second sleeve.
The Norwegian burned his last cartridges breaking in Game 4 before being treated for a sore back.
Ruud closed 3-4 but Alcaraz did not suffer the vertigo and sealed the victory with his service.
The Spaniard ran to the stands in search of his coach, former player Juan Carlos Ferrero, who traveled to Miami to accompany him in the final after the death of his father.
Both merged in an exciting hug. for the title with which Alcaraz crosses the threshold from promise to reality.