Heading to Umag with a respectable 15 ATP wins just after turning 18, the young Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz went even further at the picturesque ATP 250 event last week. Carlos claimed five victories to secure the first ATP title at 18 years and two months, becoming the fifth-youngest ATP champion since the formation of the ATP Tour in 1990! Rafael Nadal was only eight days younger when he won the first ATP crown in Sopot 2004, and Carlos will try to follow the other achievements of his famous compatriot in the years to come. Alcaraz lost the opening set in Umag to Lucas Pouille before raising his level and going all the way to lift the trophy, accompanied by his coach and mentor Juan Carlos Ferrero, who couldn’t hide emotions in the stands. Carlos took down the veteran Richard Gasquet 6-2, 6-2 in an hour and 16 minutes in the title clash, toppling the opponent in every segment to march over the top.
Carlos Alcaraz won the first ATP title in Umag, still at 18.
The youngster played better behind both the first and second serve, fending off all three break chances when he was already miles in front and delivering four breaks that carried him home safely. Gasquet couldn’t keep the rival’s pace, especially after playing a marathon in the semis that left him almost without energy. The Frenchman held at 15 in the opening game with a volley winner, and the Spaniard got his name on the scoreboard with a hold at love for 1-1. Richard wasted a game point in the third game and got broken following a massive forehand from Carlos, who grabbed a break and momentum.
The Spaniard confirmed the advantage with a service winner in game four, and they both served well in the following two to keep the same distance. Returning at 4-2, a teenager seized the third chance with a cracking return that sent him further in front before he claimed the set with a hold at 30 for 6-2. Gasquet hit a double fault at 1-1 in the second set to suffer a break and fall further behind. The youngster pretty much sealed the triumph with another successful return game that pushed him 4-1 up and put one hand on the trophy. Serving in game six, Alcaraz saved those three break points and sealed the deal with a forehand winner at 5-2 for his first ATP title out of many.