Indian Wells | Alcaraz successfully defends title.

Another brilliant performance from Carlos Alcaraz seals his second consecutive title at the BNP Paribas Open when he defeated Daniil Medvedev in the final at Indian Wells, beating the Russian in straight sets as he did last year at the same stage.

I’m feeling great right now, this tournament means a lot to me. Playing here is so special to me but I think this year is a bit more special because before the tournament I was thinking about whether I could play my best or not Carlos Alcaraz

Twelve months ago, Alcaraz cruised through the field without dropping a set, controlling the final with relative ease. This year he dropped just one set and that was in the semis to Jannik Sinner, the player expected to be his biggest rival over the coming years.

In the final itself, Medvedev put up a good fight in the opening set which the Spaniard held off to then crush the world No.4 in the second to secure a very satisfying 7-6(5) 6-1 victory.

And on completion of one-hour, 41-minute final, fans discovered that Alcaraz had been worried worried about an ankle injury he picked up in Rio de Janeiro three weeks ago.

“I’m feeling great right now, this tournament means a lot to me,” said Alcaraz, who became the first player to win back-to-back at Indian Wells since Novak Djokovic in 2016.

“Playing here is so special to me but I think this year is a bit more special because before the tournament I was thinking about whether I could play my best or not.

“I was not feeling well with my ankle.”

Carlos Alcaraz seaks to the crowd during the trophy presentation ceremony

(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

“Weeks before the tournament I was hitting for 30 minutes with no movement, so there was a lot of doubt for me, but I was really happy to be able to overcome those problems and at the end feel better.”

There was certainly no evidence of the injury throughout the week and considering the speed he generated in retrieving balls during the final, it was a surprising revelation!

The final hinged on the opening sent which was full of drama.

Medvedev took advantage of a hesitant Alcaraz to sweep into a 3-0 lead but the defending champion responded by forcing the level of play up as the games progressed, levelling in the fifth game for 3-2 following a brilliant rally.

Then, with the Russian leading 6-5 the second seed was two points away from dropping the set but recovered to force a tiebreak.

There Alcaraz got off to the better start to jump into a 3-0 lead which Medvedev recovered for 5-5 only to get broken again for 7-5.

It was a frustrating period for Medvedev who even asked for a decision – which he agreed with – be confirmed on the screen for his satisfaction!

Alcaraz, after that tight 69-minute opener, wasted no time in the second, asserting himself on the game by breaking to go 3-0 ahead.

The Spaniard played some remarkable points, retrieving from both sides of the court and somehow, producing winners on the run to the astonishment of his opponent.

He also dominated the net play, and it wasn’t until the fourth game, that Medvedev was able to secure his first and eventually, only game of the second set.

The 20-year-old was well now on a roll and smashed a fantastic shot past his opponent before holding to love for 4-1.

Alcaraz stormed through the remaining games using his powerful forehand to further humiliate the Russian world No.4 but was always ready to rally off the baseline when necessary.

He crucially broke Medvedev for the second time in the set for 5-1, and from there was able to cruise to victory for his second Indian Wells title, claiming it with his devastating forehand,
Reflecting on the final itself, Alcaraz admitted he was apprehensive to start with.

“Not just a little bit, there were a lot of nerves,” he said after becoming the sixth player to successfully retain the title.

“It was difficult to start to the match, I was not feeling good with the ball, and it was a little bit tough for me but anything can happen.

“In three games you can turn it around and start to play better and that’s what I did, I started to calm myself and control my emotions and started to feel better.”

Carlos Alcaraz holds his winners trophy after his straight sets victory over Daniil Medvedev

(Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Remarkably considering his prowess and talent, this is his first title since clinching the Wimbledon crown last year. His record for the season now stands at 12 wins from 15 matches at four events while his career tally of titles improves to 13. He also remains at world No.2 behind Novak Djokovic but ahead of Sinner (3), Medvedev (4) and Alexander Zverev (5).

The question now is whether Alcaraz can do the ‘Sunshine Double’, that is Indian Wells and Miami Masters which starts on Wednesday. That was last achieved in 2017 by Roger Federer.

The doubles title was won by the Dutch-Croatian duo of Wesley Koolhof and Nikola Mektic who overcame fifth seeds Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos 7-6(2) 7-6(4) in a one-hour, 51-minute final .

“It came down to the tie-break, where anybody can win. We started both tie-breaks well with a mini break and maybe that was the reason as we were leading the whole tie-break,” Mektic said. “The score tells you what a high quality match it was.”

Despite failing to convert any of their five break points, Koolhof and Mektic stepped in on returns in both tie-breaks and looked to cut off any ball at net to lift their first ATP Masters 1000 team title.

“It means a lot because it’s one of the strongest Masters 1000 events because you have a lot of top singles players also playing,” Koolhof said on the pairs third title of the seson.. “In last year’s final I lost 10-8 in the [Match Tie-break], so I had some unfinished business to do here. We’re very happy to have won this one.”

Wesley Koolhof and Nikola Mektic, Marcel Granollers and Horacio Zeballos pose with their trophies following the men's doubles final

(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)



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