ATP Rio: Carlos Alcaraz wins title and writes history while following Rafael Nadal

Tennis - Carlos gained 500 points in Brazil and became the youngest active player in the top-20

by Jovica Ilic
ATP Rio: Carlos Alcaraz wins title and writes history while following Rafael Nadal

The 16-year-old Carlos Alcaraz kicked off the 2020 season with a 14-1 score at Futures and received the ATP 500 Rio wild card for his ATP debut. Ranked 406th, the young Spaniard toppled the more experienced compatriot Albert Ramos-Vinolas in the deciding tie break to secure the first ATP victory and make a name for himself.

Two years later, Carlos went to Rio as world no. 29 following incredible progress, standing as one of the title favorites despite a strong field. The young gun went all the way and took down Matteo Berrettini, Fabio Fognini and Diego Schwartzman to earn the second ATP title and become the youngest ATP 500 champion since the start of this series in 2009!

Alcaraz ousted Diego Schwartzman 6-4, 6-2 in the title clash and earned 500 ATP points that pushed him inside the top-20 for the first time in a career on Monday. Carlos is the third-youngest top-20 player since 1990 after Andrei Medvedev and Pete Sampras, achieving the feat a couple of weeks before Rafael Nadal did that in 2005!

Alcaraz needed an hour and 27 minutes to beat Schwartzman, rattling off nine of the last 11 games to leave a former champion behind and lift the trophy. The Spaniard hit 21 winners and eight unforced errors, dominating with his forehand and mixing his strokes superbly to overpower the Argentine and enter history books.

Diego claimed the opening game with a volley winner at the net and broke a teenager in game two following Carlos' loose forehand. Alcaraz broke back at 15 in game three and placed a perfect drop shot for 2-2. The Spaniard closed the sixth game with another drop shot winner and locked the result at 4-4 with a deep backhand that forced the rival's error.

Carlo Alcaraz came the first ATP 500 title in Rio on clay.

In the ninth game, Carlos placed a volley winner to earn two break points and painted a backhand crosscourt winner on the first to move in front. Serving for the opener at 5-4, Alcaraz placed a perfect lob winner to seize it in style and gain a boost.

At the beginning of the second set, the Spaniard broke with a drop shot winner before netting a forehand in game two to hand it to his opponent, who leveled the score at 1-1. In the third game, Carlos cracked a crosscourt forehand to secure another return game and held with a service winner to open a 3-1 gap.

With nothing working his way, Schwartzman lost serve at love in game five to push the youngster closer to the finish line. Alcaraz moved 5-1 in front with a drop shot that forced Schwartzman's mistake and served for the title at 5-2.

Staying calm, a teenager held with a service winner to seal the deal and start a massive celebration of his producest moment on the court so far.

Atp Rio Carlos Alcaraz Rafael Nadal