Carlos Alcaraz Wins the Battle over Struff to Retain the Madrid Open Title

Carlos Alcaraz, the world's second-ranked player, defeated Jan-Lennard Struff on Sunday by scores of 6-4, 3-6, and 6-3 to successfully defend his Madrid Open crown.

The US Open winner won his 10th career championship and can retake Novak Djokovic's top spot in the world rankings by playing only one match at the Rome Masters the week before the French Open.

Alcaraz added the Madrid title to his triumphs in Barcelona, Buenos Aires, and Indian Wells this year as he continued to prepare for Roland Garros, albeit he wasn't at his energetic best against fortunate loser Struff, the world number 65.

Although his German opponent gave him a difficult time, the 20-year-old finally became the youngest player since Rafael Nadal in 2006 to successfully defend his ATP Masters 1000 championship.

Alcaraz stated, “Today I suffered more than I appreciated it in certain areas, but that's what you have to deal with.

Although it's challenging and nerves often come into play, I believe I loved it more than I suffered today.

Struff, who is 13 years older than Alcaraz, displayed anxiety in the first match and gave up a break when he double-failed and then fired a volley too far.

He had only played in two tour-level finals, and he wanted to become the only unfortunate loser to ever triumph at this level. Struff had the potential to win the Masters 1000 for the first time at an older age.

Struff rediscovered his range, and Alcaraz survived a break point to maintain a 2-0 advantage.

Despite the enthusiastic home crowd and their different rankings, the German broke to love for 2-2 and went on to win a third straight match, proving to Alcaraz that he would not be taken advantage of.

Alcaraz, though, broke once more for a 4-3 advantage when Struff had another double fault, and he held off a triple break opportunity to take the first set with a brilliant drop shot and lob combo.

Struff's power game caused lots of issues, but Alcaraz's quickness on defense helped him counter it. In the opening set, his opponent struck 14 winners to the Spaniard's seven, with the points being equally divided at 35 apiece.

Although Alcaraz required five sets to defeat Struff at Wimbledon last year, and the veteran displayed the same tenacity again in the Spanish capital to make the teenager sweat, the standings were level after their two previous matches.

Struff, who was dominant at the net, jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second set, and in the 15-minute fifth game, when Alcaraz's striking failed him, he made a spectacular hold to make the score 4-1.

Alcaraz lost only his second set of the competition and his first in a Masters 1000 final as Struff served it out.

In the crucial third set, the top seed broke after Struff blasted a long volley after saving a break chance at 1-1.

At 4-1, Alcaraz created another break chance, but Struff fought back and held to the finish. The Spaniard then won when his opponent hit a long backhand.

Aryna Sabalenka, the second-ranked player in the world, defeated Iga Swiatek on Saturday to win the women's championship in Madrid.

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