Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz swept past Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 6-2 on Sunday to win the Indian Wells ATP Masters 1000 and secure his return to number one in the world.
US Open champion Carlos Alcaraz ended Daniil Medvedev’s 19-match winning streak, denying him a fourth title in as many tournaments to ensure he will supplant Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic atop the rankings.
Serbia’s Djokovic, barred from entering the United States because he hasn’t been vaccinated against Covid-19, sat out Indian Wells and will miss the Miami Open starting this week, where Alcaraz is the defending champion.
Alcaraz, 19, became the youngest world number one ever after his triumph at Flushing Meadows last year, claimed his third Masters 1000 title, and joined compatriot Rafael Nadal as the only players to win at least three as a teenager. Nadal won six before turning 20.
He was unstoppable on Stadium Court, breaking through what he’d called the “wall” of Medvedev’s formidable defenses.
Medvedev, coming off titles in Rotterdam, Doha, and Dubai, could find no answer as Alcaraz fired winners from all over the court, defying the windy conditions.
“I’m very happy to win this tournament, it’s amazing to complete these 10 days like this,” Alcaraz said. “Of course the conditions today were very tough.
“Daniil obviously didn’t play at his best level, but I’m very happy for my performance and how I played this tournament.
“I want to play at this level in Miami as well.”
A stinging backhand winner gave him an early break in the opening set as he raced to a 3-0 lead.
He gave himself a set point with a sharply angled forehand volley and sealed it with an unreturnable serve, then won the first 10 points of the second set on the way to a 4-0 lead.
He didn’t face a break point as he polished it off in one hour and 11 minutes, a diving volley winner giving him a match point that he converted with another service winner.
Alcaraz has returned to number one despite a late start to the year. An injury forced him to miss the Australian Open, where Djokovic claimed a record-equalling 22nd Grand Slam title.
Since launching his season in February Alcaraz has won a title in Buenos Aires and reached the final in Rio de Janeiro.
But to stay at the top he’ll have to successfully defend his Miami title over the course of the next two weeks.
Banner image from BNP Paribas Open on Twitter.