Alcaraz defends Indian Wells title; first since Novak


INDIAN WELLS, Calif. — Carlos Alcaraz arrived at Indian Wells full of doubt about his twisted right ankle. He’s leaving as a two-time champion.

He defeated Daniil Medvedev 7-6 (5), 6-1 for the second straight year in the BNP Paribas Open final on Sunday, earning his first title since winning Wimbledon last year.

Alcaraz sprained his ankle at the Rio Open in late February. His first practice at Indian Wells lasted 30 minutes without any movement. His first practice with his fellow pros “was really tough for me,” he said in a Tennis Channel interview.

Alcaraz outlasted Jannik Sinner in a three-set semifinal after needing three sets to get out of his second-round match.

“After every match I was feeling better,” Alcaraz said. “I was getting more confident after every match. Winning a Master 1000 again, a really important tournament to win, gives you motivation to keep going.”

Alcaraz became the first man to defend his Indian Wells title since Novak Djokovic won three in a row from 2014 to 2016. He beat Medvedev 6-3, 6-2 last year in the Southern California desert.

“It’s definitely your court, you like it here,” Medvedev told Alcaraz during the victory ceremony. “Hopefully you can one day let me play a little bit better here.”

Medvedev led 3-0 in the first set while Alcaraz had eight unforced errors over those games. The Spaniard won three games in a row to tie it 3-3.

The players held serve the rest of the set, with Alcaraz serving a love game to get into the tiebreaker. He led 3-0 and 5-2 before Medvedev tied it 5-5. Alcaraz won the next two points to close it out.

Alcaraz got the only two breaks in the second set, when Medvedev had one winner and nine errors.

For the match, Alcaraz hit 25 winners and had 26 unforced errors, while Medvedev had 11 winners and 23 unforced errors.

Alcaraz is the second player to win five or more ATP Masters 1000 titles before their 21st birthday since the series began in 1990. The other is Rafael Nadal.

Alcaraz earned $1.1 million for his win. That’s less than the $1.26 million the men’s champion received in 2023. This year more prize money was allocated to the earlier rounds, reducing the champions’ prize money by nearly 13%.

ESPN Stats & Information and The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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