Carlos Alcaraz is only teenager with a clay-court win over Rafael Nadal


Rafael Nadal has been the most dominant clay-courter in history. Rafa has won 14 Roland Garros titles from 18 trips to Pairs, almost always finding a way to overpower his rivals. Rafa is incredibly successful against the young guns, facing 34 U21 players before Madrid last year and scoring 33 victories! Carlos Alcaraz spoiled Nadal’s record following a 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 triumph in two hours and 28 minutes in the quarter-final. Thus, Alcaraz became the first teenager to earn a clay-court victory over Nadal. Rafa’s previous U21 loss on clay came three years earlier, also in Madrid. Stefanos Tsitsipas ousted him at Caja Magica but was much older than Carlos while achieving that. Last year’s Madrid Masters was Nadal’s comeback tournament after missing a month and a half due to a fractured rib. Alcaraz took full advantage of that and overpowered the king of clay in sets one and three to emerge at the top and set the semi-final clash against Novak Djokovic. Carlos saved six out of nine break points and grabbed four return games from five opportunities to remain on the title course.

Carlos Alcaraz is the youngest player with a clay-court win over Rafael Nadal.

The youngster overpowered the veteran with 37 winners and 31 unforced errors, dictating the pace and showing his incredible skills in front of the home fans. Alcaraz broke in the encounter’s first game and saved three break chances in game two. Nadal kept pushing and seized the fourth break opportunity after the youngster’s double fault to get his name on the scoreboard. Rafa squandered two game points in the next one and experienced the second consecutive break to find himself 2-1 down. Carlos served well in the remaining games and increased the advantage with his third break in game seven. A teenager held at love in game eight with an unreturned serve for 6-2 in 47 minutes. Rafa wasted three break chances in the second set’s second game, and Carlos injured his ankle in the next one to receive a medical timeout.

Nadal was the only player on the court in the rest of the set, serving well and delivering breaks in games four and six to open a 5-1 gap. Rafa held at love in game seven to wrap up the set and gain a massive boost. Starting all over, Alcaraz brought back his A-game in the final set and left a 21-time Major winner behind. Carlos earned three break points in the fourth game with a backhand crosscourt winner and seized the first for the crucial advantage. The youngster held at 30 in game five to confirm the lead and secured game seven at 15 to open a 5-2 gap. Rafa grabbed the eighth game to prolong the action and force the rival to serve for the victory. Showing no sign of nerves, Alcaraz earned a match point with a drop shot winner in game nine. He converted it with an incredible forehand down the line winner to emerge at the top in style and become the youngest player with a clay-court victory over Nadal.

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