Carlos Alcaraz wins Barcelona Open after sweeping aside Stefanos Tsitsipas

Spaniard wins 6-3, 6-4 and becomes first player since Rafael Nadal to retain title

Carlos Alcaraz after beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final of the Barcelona Open, on April 23, 2023. EPA
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Carlos Alcaraz swept aside Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets to win the Barcelona Open for a second year in succession.

The Spanish world No 2 secured a 6-3, 6-4 victory to become the first player to retain the title since Rafael Nadal – on the court named after Alcaraz's countryman and 22-time Grand Slam champion.

Alcaraz showed no signs of nerves in front of his home fans as he powered to a 79-minute triumph against the world No 5 from Greece.

He was playing in his fourth final in five tournaments this year, winning it with 26 winners and seven unforced errors.

It was the 19-year-old's third title this year – after victories in Buenos Aires and Indian Wells – and the ninth of what already looks like becoming a stellar career.

With 14-time French Open champion Nadal sidelined since January with a hip injury and world No 1 and two-time Roland Garros winner Novak Djokovic struggling with an elbow problem, Alcaraz looks in pole position to add the clay-court Grand Slam title to the US Open he captured last year.

Nadal was the last player to win consecutive titles in Barcelona earning three straight victories from 2016-18 and Alcaraz will now also try to defend his title at the upcoming Madrid Open.

“It is incredible,” said Alcaraz, who closed the gap on Djokovic to 365 points in the world rankings as he looks to retake the No 1 spot.

“To feel this energy and lift the trophy in Barcelona in front of my family and friends, and most members of my team are here as well. Playing this level and to lift the trophy in front of them is a good feeling for me.

“Me and my team were talking before the match about staying relaxed. To want to play the tough moments. Staying relaxed is the most important part for me.

“To forget the mistakes, everything and be myself on court. Not to think about all the people watching, but just me, the court, the racquet and the final.”

After Tsitsipas broke for 2-1 early, Alcaraz won five of the next six games to take charge of the match and was particularly dominant on serve against the big-hitting Greek.

He continued to delight the home crowd in the second set with some remarkable shots, and a solitary break in the fifth game proved enough to clinch the title without having dropped a set all week.

And it meant another fall at the last hurdle for Tsitsipas in Barcelona who was beaten by Nadal in both the 2018 and 2021 finals.

Meanwhile, Dusan Lajovic upset the in-form Andrey Rublev in the Banja Luka final on Sunday, winning 6-3, 4-6, 6-4.

World No 70 Lajovic, who knocked out Novak Djokovic in the quarterfinals, snapped Rublev's eight-match winning run that began with his triumph last week in Monte Carlo.

Lajovic led 5-1 in the deciding set but had to hold off a spirited comeback from Rublev before securing victory after two hours and 32 minutes.

“Honestly it was probably the toughest match I have had in the past six months. I felt drained,” the 32-year-old Lajovic said. “From 5-1 in the third I could not feel my legs and felt a bit dizzy.

“I knew he was going to fight but somehow I managed to pull it out in the last game. I wasn't even thinking in the last game.”

Updated: April 23, 2023, 5:27 PM