Alcaraz routs Medvedev in Indian Wells final, reclaims No. 1 ranking

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[March 20, 2023]  (Reuters) -Top seed Carlos Alcaraz snapped Daniil Medvedev's 19-match win streak with a 6-3 6-2 rout in the Indian Wells final on Sunday that will see him leapfrog Novak Djokovic and return to world number one in the rankings.

Alcaraz did not drop a set across six matches in the tournament and his performance in the California desert gives him an added boost of confidence ahead of his Miami Open title defence.

"I'm playing great. Of course today, the conditions today were pretty tough. Of course Daniil didn't play at his best, obviously," said Alcaraz.

"All I can say is I'm really happy with my performance, the way that I was playing this tournament. I'm looking forward to playing this level in Miami as well."

Alcaraz enjoyed a dream start to the matchup of first-time Indian Wells finalists as he got an early break for a 2-0 lead and dropped just six points on serve, racing through the opening set in 36 minutes.

Russian fifth seed Medvedev, who was looking to add another title to the ones he collected in Rotterdam, Doha and Dubai over the last month, was unable to stop the bleeding and had no answer for the Spaniard's brilliance the rest of the way.

Alcaraz broke to love in the first game of the second set and held at love for a 2-0 lead as a resigned Medvedev dropped 10 consecutive points dating back to the first frame.

The hard-hitting Spaniard kept dragging Medvedev from corner to corner and consolidated another break for a commanding 4-0 lead while barely breaking a sweat as he closed out a seemingly stress-free victory in 70 minutes without facing a break point.

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Mar 19, 2023; Indian Wells, CA, USA; Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) poses with his coaches Juan Carlos Ferrero and Juanjo Moreno after defeating Daniil Medvedev (RUS) in the menís final of the BNP Paribas Open at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

A bruised and battered Medvedev was clearly not at his best after having rolled his right ankle in the fourth round and then cutting open his thumb in the quarter-final. He was also unable to deal with the windy conditions during the final.

"It was a surprising week in many aspects," said Medvedev. "The ankle, the thumb, the tennis, wind, whatever. But we almost made it. ... I will try to be better next time."

The victory marked the third ATP Masters 1000 trophy for 19-year-old Alcaraz, who became the youngest world number one last September when he won the U.S. Open and held that spot for 20 weeks until Djokovic reclaimed it in January.

Djokovic withdrew from the draw for the Indian Wells event in an indication that his application for a COVID-19 vaccine waiver to enter the U.S. might have failed. The Serbian has also withdrawn from the Miami Open.

(Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto; Editing by Chris Reese/Peter Rutherford)

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