Tennis-King Carlos defends his throne as Alcaraz wins Indian Wells


Mar 17, 2024; Indian Wells, CA, USA; Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) holds the championship trophy after defeating Daniil Medvedev (RUS) in the men’s final of the BNP Paribas open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sp


By Rory Carroll

(Reuters) – Carlos Alcaraz overcame a sluggish start and finished with a flourish to successfully defend his Indian Wells crown with a 7-6(5) 6-1 win over Daniil Medvedev in the final on Sunday.

The win ends a title drought for the world number two that stretched back to last summer’s Wimbledon and makes him the first man to defend a championship in the California desert since Novak Djokovic won three straight between 2014-2016.

Alcaraz showed no ill effects from the ankle injury that forced him to withdraw from last month’s Rio Open but said it was on his mind coming into the event.

“Winning this tournament means a lot to me because the week before it began I had a lot of doubts about my ankle,” Alcaraz said.

“But once I stepped on the court for the first round it started to feel better and as I said after every match, I was feeling better and better. Really, really happy to be able to win this tournament again.”

In a rematch of last year’s final, Alcaraz started slow, spraying errors around the court to fall 3-0 down but raised his level to get back on serve and eventually force a tiebreak.

In the closely fought breaker, Alcaraz pounded a forehand that his Russian opponent could not redirect safely in bounds to hand Alcaraz the first set.

The Spaniard romped through the second set, raising his arms in the air and letting out a roar when Medvedev missed another forehand wide on match point.

Second seed Alcaraz smacked 25 winners to Medvedev’s 11 and was especially effective against his opponent’s second serves.

“I enjoy playing these kind of matches with you,” Alcaraz told Medvedev during the trophy ceremony. “Hopefully more finals ahead.”

Medvedev, who briefly lost his temper with some fans in the Alcaraz-friendly crowd in the second set, was gracious in defeat.

“I’d like to congratulate Carlos,” Medvedev said during the trophy ceremony.

“It’s definitely your court, you like it here. Congrats to you and your team. You are doing a great job so continue this way and hopefully one day you can let me play a little bit better here,” he said.

“Amazing job today and amazing job throughout the two weeks.”

It was an eventful stay in the California desert for the 20-year-old Alcaraz.

The two-time major champion was stung on the forehead when a swarm of bees invaded the court on Thursday, kept his number two ranking by ending Jannik Sinner’s 19-match winning streak in the semis and slayed the big-serving fourth seed Medvedev in the final.

(This story has been refiled to correct a typo in the headline to throne, from thrown)


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