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In a final identical to last year’s, Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz again came out on top against Russia’s Daniil Medvedev (7-6 [5], 6-1). The world number two won his 13th title, his 5th in a Masters 1000.

He arrived in California not really knowing what to expect. He was coming off a South American tour where he had picked up an ankle injury and damaged his confidence. He wanted to use this as a measuring stick.. And he showed everyone that he was back in business. On Sunday, against Daniil Medvedev, in a final that didn’t make you dizzy, “Carlitos” shook off his torpor at the start of the match, resized his game and moved with the flow, just as he had done the day before, in the semi-finals against the invincible of the moment, Jannik Sinner.

The match film

At the age of 20, Alcaraz punched his ticket to a 13th career title, a 5th Masters 1000 before his 21st birthday (just like Rafael Nadal!), which could prove seminal. After his disappointing stint in South America, which came on the back of an Australian Open that ended prematurely in the quarter-finals, the Murcian proved at Indian Wells that he is now capable of adapting, adjusting and stretching the seams of a match. Initially praised for his almighty power from the baseline, his candor, his creative ability and his insane defensive diableries, the world No.2 has shown in his latest outings in California – against Sinner in the semi-finals and then against Medvedev in Sunday’s final – that he can see further ahead and change the landscape. ” We’re working a lot with my team right now on how to adapt, change strategy from one set to another,” he agreed.


This accelerated reflection was useful on Sunday, when the Murcian’s start to the match was not good, when his tactical certainties, he thought, floated from the outset. Hasty with his forehand, faulty with his backhand, Alcaraz dithered in the exchange, and his gesticulations towards his clan told part of the story of his incomprehension.

Opposite him, Medvedev wasn’t transcendent, but he quietly dictated at the exchange and relied on a cleaner first ball than in his semi-final against Tommy Paul. So Alcaraz decided that this time, he had to go for it. Service-volley, return hit, net hold: he upset the order, broke and took the story of this set, which would be the story of the match, to the tie-break. A tie-break he won with guts and intent. “Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan didn’t win everything in their careers”, said his mentor Juan Carlos Ferrero before the tournament, to calm things down.

As for Medvedev, he hasn’t won anything in a long time. On Sunday, the Russian went down in the second set and lost his fifth consecutive final. “Tennis is such a sport of m…”, he said at the change of ends during the tie-break. Alcaraz, on the other hand, is taming the game. And he’s not yet 21.

The match film


This post is originally from L’Équipe