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Alcaraz’s ascension continues with ATP Masters 1000 title, victory over Ruud in Miami Tennis final

By Ricky Dimon

Heading into this season, Carlos Alcaraz’s aspirations were to win a 500 title and to finish in the top 15. Those sound like lofty enough goals for an 18-year-old.

Well…not lofty enough!

Those goals will have to be reevaluated, because just three months into 2022 they are already being obliterated. Alcaraz, who already won a 500 event in Rio de Janeiro, captured a Masters 1000 title by beating Casper Ruud 7-5, 6-4 in the Miami Open final on Sunday afternoon. With that result, the Spaniard will soar to No. 11 in the world and to No. 2 in the race to Turin behind only countryman Rafael Nadal.

“I’m so happy to get the title here in Miami with everyone who was supporting me,” Alcaraz commented.

One of those supporters was his coach, Juan Carlos Ferrero. The former world No. 1 had not been in Miami because of the recent death of his father, but he made a late trip for the final and arrived on Sunday morning.

It obviously turned out to be a great decision.

Ferrero got to see his charge turn in another impressive performance on the heels of especially amazing displays of tennis against Stefanos Tsitsipas in the fourth round and Miomir Kecmanovic in the quarterfinals. Alcaraz was slow to heat up in the championship match, but once he got going he had no trouble erasing an early 3-0 deficit in the first set.

With his triumph, Alcaraz becomes the youngest Miami champion on the men’s side in the 37-year history of the tournament. Overall, he is the third-youngest Masters 1000 champion. He is also the first Spanish man to lift the trophy (Nadal has reached the final five times but has never prevailed).

Carlos Alcaras Instagram

“The hard work paid off,” Alcaraz said afterward. “Yeah, it’s amazing to get my first Masters 1000…. When I [won] the last point, all the time that I [dreamt of this] came to my mind. You know, when I was younger, I dreamed to get (a) Masters 1000 (title). Yeah, when I [fell to the court], I remembered that. All the dreams, all the hard work, all the training, all the troubles, everything came to my mind in that moment.”

As for Ruud, he will climb to seventh in the rankings thanks to what is also his best-ever result at the Masters 100 level.

“I’m very happy with my result here in Miami,” the 23-year-old Norwegian assessed. “Of course disappointing that I couldn’t go all the way, but I didn’t expect myself to reach the final in the first place. So I can’t be too upset about it.”

Nobody can be too upset about losing to Alcaraz. There’s no shame in that, of course–not now, and probably not for the next 15 years.

Ricky contributes to10sballs.com and also maintains his own tennis website, The Grandstand. You can follow him on twitter at @Dimonator.