Carlos Alcaraz makes history after beating Casper Ruud to win Miami Open title

Spanish teenager is the youngest champion in the tournament's history

Carlos Alcaraz raises the Butch Buchholz Trophy after defeating Casper Ruud in the Miami Open final. Getty
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Carlos Alcaraz made history on Sunday by becoming the youngest ever Miami Open champion, and first Spaniard to win the title, after defeating Norway's Casper Ruud in the Masters 1000 final.

Alcaraz, who turns 19 next month, showed just why many believe he is the hottest young prospect in men's tennis with a 7-5, 6-4 victory.

Only two men have won titles at this level at a younger age - Michael Chang, who was 18 years and five months old when he won Toronto in 1990, and Alcaraz's hero Rafael Nadal, 18 years and 10 months when he claimed the Monte Carlo crown in 2005.

Alcaraz dropped just one set on the way to his Miami crown and now will head off to compete on his preferred surface of clay buoyed by the biggest win of his career.

"I have no words to describe how I feel," Alcaraz said after he replaced Novak Djokovic as the youngest champion in the tournament's 37-year history. "But it's so special to win my Masters 1000 here in Miami."

There's a long way to go before even getting close to replicating the legendary career of 21 Grand Slam-winning compatriot Nadal but Alcaraz says he plans to have fun trying.

"I have always looked up to Rafa, I always watched his big moments and matches and learned a lot from that," said Alcaraz, who received a congratulatory call from Spain's King Felipe VI, after a famous win which saw him collapse to the floor upon winning the final point.

"When I fell to the floor, all the times I have dreamed of this came to me."

Nadal was among the first to congratulate Alcaraz upon his win on Sunday, hailing a "historical" triumph.

"The first of many to come I'm sure," Nadal wrote on Twitter.

Much is expected of Alcaraz whose passionate, all-energy displays in the latter stages of the Miami Open energised the Florida crowd.

It was the more understated Norwegian, 23, however, who made the better start by breaking early and keeping the pressure firmly on his precocious opponent.

Despite the majority of the crowd backing the Spanish player, he was unable to take a break opportunity at 3-1 with Ruud proving he possesses the kind of mental strength to thrive in such high pressure situations.

Yet when another chance came to pierce the world number eight's service game, Alcaraz, who reached the last four in Indian Wells last month, grabbed it before holding his own serve to put a lively first set firmly back in the balance at 4-4.

A blistering forehand set up two more break points and although Ruud saved the first, he then hit wide to put Alacaraz in the driving seat to land the opening set.

Two breaks at the start of the second set further cemented Alcaraz's dominance, the teenager racing into a 3-0 lead which was too tall a mountain for the combative yet ultimately outclassed Ruud.

Updated: April 04, 2022, 6:42 AM