Carlos Alcaraz goes back-to-back at Indian Wells

League: Tennis

Posted on: 18 Mar, 2024 at 01:23 AM

Credit: Taya Gray/The Desert Sun / USA TODAY NETWORK

No. 2 seed Carlos Alcaraz of Spain successfully defended his title at the BNP Paribas Open on Sunday, beating fourth-seeded Russian Daniil Medvedev 7-6 (5), 6-1 in the final in Indian Wells, Calif.

Alcaraz also beat Medvedev in 2023, earning a 6-3, 6-2 victory to claim the title.

On Sunday, Medvedev started strong, jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the first set. He was later up 6-5 but couldn't finish off the win, leading to a tiebreaker that Alcaraz took despite blowing a 5-2 edge.

Alcaraz rode that momentum into the second set, facing little resistance to improve to 4-2 in his all-time series with Medvedev.

Less than a month ago, there were questions as to how effective Alcaraz would be at Indian Wells after he sprained his ankle at the Rio Open in late February. Even Alcaraz questioned if he was truly good to go, but by the time he took the court for his opening match in the second round against Italy's Matteo Arnaldi, the ankle appeared to be holding up.

"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. "I remember my first practice here was just 30 minutes with no movement and probably the first practice with really good tennis players was really tough for me, because I thought I was not going to play my best.

"I was not feeling well with my ankle, so a lot of doubts for me. But once I stepped on the court, the first round, I started to feel better."

Alcaraz racked up 23 winners compared to Medvedev's 11 in the final, also committing fewer unforced errors (14-11). Medvedev did save seven of 10 break points, but it was one of the few advantages he had against the reigning champ.

Medvedev's drought at Indian Wells continued, as it is the only hard-court Masters 1000 tournament he has yet to win. Medvedev will have a chance to redeem himself when he attempts to defend his title at the Miami Open, where Alcaraz hopes to continue rolling.

"Obviously winning tournaments helps a lot coming to the next ones," Alcaraz said. "Obviously winning a Masters 1000 again -- it is a really difficult tournament to win -- gives you extra motivation to keep going, extra confidence for Miami right now and for what's next."

--Field Level Media