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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Sunday March 17, 2024

Carlos Alcaraz

Carlos Alcaraz broke open a close contest and completed his BNP Paribas Open title defense in style, defeating Daniil Medvedev 7-6(5), 6-1 in the final.

Photo Source: Getty

Indian Wells – Carlos Alcaraz is making the Indian Wells Tennis Garden his own personal playground.

The Spaniard defeated Daniil Medvedev in a rematch of last year’s BNP Paribas Open final, 7-6(5), 6-1, to complete the first successful title defense at Indian Wells since Novak Djokovic in 2016.

Tennis Express

With his win, the 20-year-old World No.2 joins Rafael Nadal as one of the only two players to have logged five or more Masters 1000 titles before his 21st birthday, and wins his 13th career title overall.

Medvedev drops to 20-18 lifetime in ATP finals, and 14-3 on the season, with the loss.

It could be a season-changing moment for the Spaniard, who entered the draw without a title since he raised the Wimbledon trophy last July, and had not played in a final since the 2023 Cincinnati epic that he lost to Novak Djokovic, just prior to last year’s US Open.

Alcaraz had also lost four consecutive ATP semifinals before he edged his main rival Jannik Sinner in a heavily anticipated semifinal on Saturday, in a match that was essentially a battle for the No.2 ranking in next week's ATP ranking.

He was the underdog against the undefeated Italian in that clash, but on today he was expected to win against Medvedev, particularly because of the slow playing conditions in play at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden, and the way he handled Medvedev in a lopsided final last year, 6-3, 6-1.

But Medvedev has proven to be a tough out at Indian Wells over the last two years. He was 6-5 lifetime here prior to 2023 but entered the final having won 10 of 11 matches.

The Russian was up a break early, and even had chances to win the tiebreaker that ensued, but Alcaraz converted his first set point when a Medvedev down the line forehand missed just wide.

In truth, from the moment he fell behind, Alcaraz was control of the match. Pressed by Medvedev's aggressive tactics early, he answered the bell quickly and started clicking through the gears.

He was alert, tuned into the possibilities and fast-twitching all over the court as she anticipated and attacked Medvedev relentlessly to turn a break deficit into a break lead, then a set and break lead, then a triumph that saw him finish with a dead sprint to the finish, with seven of the final eight games tucked in his pocket.

It would be remiss to not mention his forehand drop shot, which was executed brilliantly all match, and paid dividends against Medvedvev in many key spots. With Alcaraz's stunning ground game, the drop shot is such a lethal variation, a fool proof way to take an opponent out of a comfort zone. It worked wonders against Medvedev today, and helped change the tone of the match in the opening set.

What's next for the Spaniard?

If Alcaraz can maintain his level, 2024 could end up being the third consecutive year that Alcaraz takes home a Grand Slam title – or even the first year he bags more than one.

Moreover, it will be even harder for Novak Djokovic, who lost in the third round in his first BNP Paribas Open experience since 2019, to continue dominate the majors with both Alcaraz and Sinner hitting their peak at the same time.


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