Published On: Sun, Mar 17th, 2024

Carlos Alcaraz beats Daniil Medvedev in Indian Wells to win first title since Wimbledon | Tennis | Sport

Carlos Alcaraz finally ended his eight-month title drought as he successfully defended his crown in Indian Wells. In a rematch of last year’s final, the world No. 2 defeated Daniil Medvedev 7-6(5) 6-1 to lift his first trophy since Wimbledon.

Alcaraz and Medvedev stepped onto the court for the Indian Wells final exactly 12 months after finding themselves in the same position. Last year Alcaraz came out on top, easily dispatching the 28-year-old 6-3 6-2 to lift the title. But Medvedev tried to flip the script, starting strong as he broke to lead 2-0.

The world No. 4 saved three break-back points in a marathon nine-minute game to extend his lead. But Alcaraz refused to go away and stormed back to win the next three games, drawing level at 3-3. The Spaniard continued to put pressure on his rival as Medvedev saved a break point in another lengthy game that saw Alcaraz win the rally of the tournament with a banana forehand.

But the 28-year-old held on and the thrilling first set went to a tiebreak  – just the second tiebreak in the 15 sets they’ve played. Alcaraz earned the first mini-break and stormed into a 5-2 lead before Medvedev got himself back in it, winning the next three points.

It was last year’s winner who just scraped the first set after 69 minutes as he drew an error from Medvedev to clinch the tiebreak 7-5. Alcaraz put his foot on the gas once he got out in front, racing into a 3-0 lead in the second set.

As the 20-year-old continued to up his level, Medvedev was pushed further and further behind the baseline into his usual deep return position. He had no answers for Alcaraz, who earned another break as the final nail in the coffin, giving himself a chance to serve for it at 5-1.

The frustration crept in for Medvedev, who confronted a spectator in the final game of the match. But he couldn’t channel his anger into a last-minute turnaround and Alcaraz got the job done in straight sets, picking up his first title since Wimbledon last July.

It’s the third time that the world No. 2 has successfully defended a title – with the previous two coming in Barcelona and Madrid last year. And it’s the result that Alcaraz has been waiting for after a difficult few months.

The Spaniard lost in the quarter-final of the Australian Open and the semi-final in Buenos Aires at the beginning of the season. At the Rio Open – in his last tournament before Indian Wells – he turned his ankle in his opening match and retired at 1-1, sparking injury concerns.

But Alcaraz quickly tamed them when he arrived in Indian Wells. After dropping a set to Matteo Arnaldi in his opening match, he defeated four men that had winning records against him – Felix Auger-Aliassime, Fabian Marozsan, Alexander Zverev and Jannik Sinner. And he capped off a statement run against Medvedev on Sunday, retaining the trophy for another year.

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