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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Sunday July 25, 2021

Carlos Alcaraz

18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz rifled past Richard Gasquet to claim his maiden ATP title.

Photo Source: Croatian Open Umag

He came, he saw, he conquered—18-year-old Carlos Alcaraz produced aother bruising display of baseline tennis as he rolled past France’s Richard Gasquet to claim his maiden ATP at the Croatia Open in Umag, 6-2, 6-2.

The Spaniard becomes the youngest ATP player to raise a trophy on the ATP Tour since Kei Nishikori, and the youngest champion in Umag’s 31-year history.

”It’s amazing. I have a lot of emotions. I’m really, really happy with this victory, this win, my first ATP title,” Alcaraz said. “I’m going to enjoy this moment a lot.”

It was another breathtaking display of clay-court tennis befitting of a player ten years older. The physicality and aggression of Alcaraz, who is coached by former Grand Slam champion Juan Carlos Ferrero, is not typically seen from teenagers on tour, and he is just as explosive as a ball striker as he is a mover.

It was perhaps fitting that the Spaniard defeated Gasquet for his first career title. The Frenchman was a precocious talent on tour as well and remains to this day the youngest player to ever record a match win on the ATP Tour, a feat he accomplished at the age of 15 in 2002.

Now 35, Gasquet did not have the legs and lungs to contend with Alcaraz’s bristling game. The 18-year-old, playing in just his 27th ATP match, broke for 2-1 in the opening set and never looked back, breaking again for 5-2 before closing it out, 6-2.

The second set followed the same pattern, with Alcaraz breaking for 2-1, but this time the Spaniard broke twice consecutively to lead 4-1. Gasquet, the second-oldest finalist in Umag history and playing his first ATP final since 2018, did hold to stay alive for 2-5, but Alcaraz promptly served out the victory in the next game.

Alcaraz will rise to a career-high ranking of 55 as a result of his title.

"He’s playing unbelievable," Gasquet said. "He’s only 18 and of course he has a great future and I just couldn’t play at his level and his intensity. That was the key of the match and he didn’t lose a point. He played well, very solid. He’s a great player.".

Alcaraz won 78 percent of his first-serve points and 58 percent of his second-serve points, saving all three break points to improve to 15-10 on the season.


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