Carlos Alcaraz secured his first grass-court title and top billing at Wimbledon with victory over Alex De Minaur in the final of the cinch Championships.
The 20-year-old Spaniard overtook Novak Djokovic as world number one, and confirmed he will be a major contender to take the Serbian’s crown at SW19 next month, with a commanding 6-4 6-4 win at Queen’s Club.
Alcaraz was playing only his third ever grass-court tournament, and his first outside of two underwhelming visits to Wimbledon.
In his first match he needed a third-set tie-break to get past French journeyman Arthur Rinderknech, but as the week wore on he grew in confidence on the surface and by Sunday looked to the manor born.
Alcaraz will now be top seed at Wimbledon and, on this evidence, has a genuine chance to emulate compatriot Rafael Nadal, who won at Queen’s in 2008 and went on to claim the big one three weeks later.
A break of serve in each set proved enough to overcome Australian number one De Minaur, who competed well but had no answer to the pace and power of the favourite.
For example when De Minaur, 24, created the match’s first break point, at 4-3 in the opener, Alcaraz simply rolled out a 137mph ace.
A high-quality first set swung the way of the top seed when De Minaur sent a backhand wide, and then a forehand long, to gift Alcaraz the break.
The youngster from Murcia wrapped up the 49-minute set with an ace before taking a medical time-out for treatment on his right thigh.
Whatever the issue was, it did not seem to bother Alcaraz too much as he forced another break point at 2-2 in the second – and De Minaur picked the worst possible time to throw in a first double fault.
Victory was confirmed when De Minaur’s return floated long and Alcaraz celebrated an 11th career title, and surely the first of many on the lawns of London.
Alcaraz said: “It means a lot to have my name on the trophy. It was special to play here where so many legends have won. To see my name surrounded by the great champions is amazing.
“I started the tournament not very well, especially my movement on the grass, but it’s been an amazing week.”
De Minaur had been hoping to match his British girlfriend Katie Boulter, who won a first career title in Nottingham last weekend, but he just came up short.
He said: “It’s been a great week for me. We were close but I wasn’t quite able to get it done. Too good from Carlos.”
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