Rafael Nadal will have to wait another year to chase Caja Magica’s fifth title in Madrid. Nadal finished last week with a 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 defeat to young compatriot Carlos Alcaraz in 2 hours 28 minutes.
Carlos became the youngest player to win Rafa on dirt and beat his idol to the quarterfinals with a stunning performance in the first and third sets.
This was Rafa’s first tournament to skip six weeks with a rib injury, fending off four match points against David Goffin but failing to repeat it against a fit opponent.
Carlos recovered six of nine breakouts and captured four of his five comeback matches to control the scoreboard and stay on the title track. The young player beat the veteran with 37 wins and 31 mandatory mistakes, setting the pace and showing off the incredible skills that propel him into the top 6.
Alcaraz broke the first game early and recorded three breaking points in the next game. After the young man’s double mistake, Nadal took the opportunity to take the fourth time-out and put his name on the scoreboard and brought the score to 1.
Rafa squandered two points in the next game and took the second time-out in a row. Carlos performed well in the remaining games and took the lead to 4-2 in the third game.
A young man who did not serve in the eighth game made the score 6-2 in 47 minutes. Rafa missed three time-outs in the second game of the second set, and Carlos injured his ankle in the next game, losing ground and receiving a medical time-out.
Carlos Alcaraz defeated Rafael Nadal in three sets in Madrid.
Nadal was the only player on the field for the remainder of the set, serving well and making a 5-1 lead with a hiatus in the fourth and sixth games.
Rafa had zero in the seventh game to complete the set and get a big boost towards the tiebreak. Alcaraz paused and restarted the final set.
He brought back the A game and outstripped the 21-time Major champion. Carlos scored three timeouts 2-1 with the cross-court backhand winner, capturing the first for critical advantage.
The young player kept the fifth game at 30 and secured the seventh game at 15 to justify the difference, opening a 5-2 lead. Rafa used the eighth game to prolong the action and force his opponent to serve for the win.
Showing no signs of nervousness, Alcaraz clinched match points with a scorer win in game nine and clinched an incredible forehand win to top it off in style.
“Carlos is 19 and I am 36, of course this is a cycle. Congratulations to him, he was a better player in many ways and I will have to level up in Rome and Paris.
An easy defeat to digest because we knew what to expect here in Madrid. “I wish Carlos the best for the rest of the tournament,” said Rafael Nadal.