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Alcaraz Clinches Cinch Championships For First Grass Title

Jun 26th 2023

Alcaraz clinches Cinch Championships for first grass title

Alcaraz defeats de Minaur 6-4, 6-4 at Queens Club

The twenty-year old from Spain had reached his first grass court final. Carlos Alcaraz, the reigning US Open champion, and former world #1 was hoping to glean confidence in preparation for Wimbledon. After dropping the opening set in his opening round against lucky loser Arthur Rinderknech, the top seed eliminated his next three opponents in straights.

Alex de Minaur from Australia, posed a formidable challenge having triumphed in 2021 on the grass in Eastbourne. The twenty-four-year-old with 7 career titles is currently ranked #18 having attained a career high rank of 15 two years prior.

He won his first ATP 500 event this season in Acapulco (d. Paul) and in London, aptly demonstrated his grass court prowess in dispatching Adrian Mannarino in three and the #2 seed and world #6 Holger Rune in straights.  

This was their second tour level meeting and first on grass. Last season on the dirt in Barcelona, Alcaraz prevailed in three tight sets.

(Photo: ATP Tour/Twitter) 

De Minaur served first and though he faced 0-30 and deuce, held while his opponent held at love to level. The Aussie struck a brilliant crosscourt backhand volley winner to hold at love for 2-1 while Alcaraz with an inside-out forehand winner, held to 15 for 2-2.

De Minaur made 4/6 first serves and held to 30 for 3-2 while Alcaraz missed 4/8 first serves, faced deuce yet held when his opponent netted a volley. The Aussie made 5/5 first serves and with a spectacular crosscourt forehand, held easily to 15 for 4-3.

Alcaraz serving with new balls reached 40-15 but struggled to hold as his opponent ripped returns and passing shots. The Spanish superstar faced three deuce and two break points but leveled with an ace out wide and an extraordinary inside-out forehand. De Minaur gifted two consecutive unforced errors and dumped serve while Alcaraz emphatically closed out the set 6-4 with four winners including an ace up the tee on set point.  

Alcaraz took a medical time out following the conclusion of the opening set. De Minaur opened the second with an incredible crosscourt forehand and held to 30 with a backhand volley winner and his first ace.

Alcaraz with his right leg heavily taped, opened with an ace up the tee and though he gifted his first double fault, held to 30 to level. De Minaur donated three unforced errors and faced deuce but managed to hold for 2-1 while Alcaraz made 4/6 first serves and with a fantastic forehand inside-in, held to 30 to level.

Although the Aussie opened the fifth with a stunning forehand stab volley winner, he missed 4/6 first serves including two double faults, the last to drop serve. Alcaraz seemed everywhere all at once, hit his fifth ace, an overhead smash, and a monster inside-out forehand to consolidate the break for 4-2.

The world #18 invariably focused and competitive, made 3/4 first serves and held at love for 3-4 while Alcaraz struck his 6th ace and held easily to 15 for 5-3.

De Minaur opened the 9th with his third double fault but with four consecutive first serves and a crosscourt forehand winner, held to 15 for 4-5. The NextGen phenom from Murcia, Spain gifted two consecutive forehand errors but sealed victory with his seventh ace and three consecutive return errors.

Alcaraz was clinical in securing his first grass court title. He won 72% of first and 65% of second serve points, hit fifteen winners to eleven unforced errors and saved both break points he faced while converting 2/2.

He will reascend to the top of the rankings with his fifth title of the season and be seeded first at Wimbledon. He is now one of seventeen active players with titles on all three surfaces. While the grass court season may be exceedingly short, it never fails to deliver to drama, excitement and the unexpected.