Carlos Alcaraz is primed to become world number one once again after defending his Madrid Open title.
The Spaniard, who turned 20 on Saturday, beat Jan-Lennard Struff 6-4 3-6 6-3 to complete the Spanish double for the second successive year following his victory in Barcelona a fortnight ago.
Success in the capital means he will return to the summit of the rankings, displacing Novak Djokovic, if he plays the next ATP Tour event in Rome.
Alcaraz’s latest win came amid the news Rafael Nadal will miss the Italian Open as he continues to recover from a hip injury, and with Djokovic also nursing an elbow problem he is rapidly establishing himself as the French Open favourite.
German Struff became the first lucky loser to reach the final at a Masters 1000 event and gave Alcaraz a tough match, having taken the second set to force a decider.
But Alcaraz was too good and came through to defend his title on home clay.
“For me it is so, so special,” Alcaraz said on the ATP Tour website. “To lift the trophy here in Madrid. In my country. It is always special to play and to be able to do a good result here and (being) a champion is so special.
“In front of my home crowd, my family, my friends. Everyone close to me. For me it is a special feeling that I will never forget.
“It was a really tough match. Jan was playing great, really aggressive. In the second set I had a lot of chances to break his serve and I didn’t take it and it was tough for me to lose it.
“I told myself that I had to be positive all the time and that I would have my chances and I think I did it in the third set.”