“I can’t believe it” – Rio Open win sees Carlos Alcaraz become youngest ATP 500 champion
After winning the Rio Open this week, Carlos Alcaraz has become the youngest player to win an ATP 500 event since the category’s inception in 2009.
A 16-year-old Alcaraz earned his first Tour match win at the Rio Open in 2020 and now, two years later, has gone on to win the same event, making history in the process.
Now 18-year-old Alcaraz consolidated last year’s excellent breakthrough season and an impressive Australian Open campaign by winning the Rio Open this week. As such, the young Spaniard is the youngest player in Tour history to win an ATP 500 event.
Alcaraz beat a number of good opponents as he stormed to victory, including World number six Matteo Berrettini in the quarter-finals, before beating Fabio Fognini in the semi-finals and Diego Schwartzman in the final.
This comes after Alcaraz was forced to play both his quarter-final and semi-final encounters on Saturday as heavy rain caused fixture congestion earlier in the week.
Battling through the fatigue and being roared on by the home fans, Alcaraz went on to claim just his second ever tour-level title
Spanish sensation Alcaraz enjoyed a fine breakthrough season last year that concluded with him winning the ATP Next Gen Finals, losing just one set en route to his impressive victory.
Alcaraz has continued his surge into the new year as he reached the third round of the Australian Open, where he suffered a narrow defeat to World number six Matteo Berrettini and winning the Brazilian event.
As a result of his title, Alcaraz has now broken into the ATP top 20, rising nine places from 29th.
Speaking in his post-match press conference, Alcaraz said “I can’t believe it, honestly. It has been a great week for me playing a great level.
“[My] first tournament on clay since a long time, so I’m really happy with the performance during the whole week. It’s an amazing feeling right now.”
After withdrawing from the Mexican Open with a minor injury concern, Alcaraz said “it has been a tough week.
“To be in the top 20 was a goal for me at the end of the year (2021) and to be able to do that at the beginning [of this year] is amazing.”
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