Carlos Alcaraz fist pump

Apr 3, 2022; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) reacts after winning a point against Casper Ruud (NOR)(not pictured) in the men’s singles final in the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

  • Carlos Alcaraz turned 19 Thursday, beat Rafael Nadal Friday, and then beat Novak Djokovic Saturday
  • Alcaraz faces No. 2 seed Alexander Zverev May 8 at 12:30pm ET
  • The teenager is the favorite – again – in the final against the defending champion Zverev. We break it down

Carlos Alcaraz already has broken down a lot of “never been done” barriers this week at the Madrid Open.

And on Sunday, May 8 (12:30pm ET start) he’ll try to win his second Masters 1000 tournament of the season.

Alcaraz vs Zverev Odds

Player Spread Moneyline Total
[7] Carlos Alcaraz (ESP) -3.5 (+102) -215 O 22.5 (-125)
[2] Alexander Zverev (GER) +3.5 (-132) +176 U 22.5 (-130)

Odds as of May 7 at FanDuel

Alcaraz will take on Alexander Zverev, who is the defending champion and who has found returning to the scene of that triumph a real kickstart to a moribund season.

Historical Firsts for Alcaraz

Rafael Nadal had been 20-0 on clay against teenagers in his career. That ended when Alcaraz defeated him in a marathon epic in the quarterfinals Friday.

Despite twisting his ankle in the second set of that match, Alcaraz seemed none the worse for wear as he tried to back that up with a win over the world No. 1, Novak Djokovic, in Saturday’s semifinal.

Mission accomplished there too, in a 6-7 (5), 7-5, 7-6 (5) that took three hours, 35 minutes to complete – fully appropriately – with a third-set tiebreak.

He is the only player ever to beat those two legends back-to-back on clay. And obviously he’s the youngest to beat them both in a tournament in any circumstance, ever.

Alcaraz was more of a favorite than Djokovic before the tournament began. And he’s living up to that.

It’s now less of a surprise that he’s favored over both Djokovic and Nadal this coming week at the Italian Open.

And with all that, he still hasn’t won the tournament.

Alcaraz vs Zverev Head-to-Head

19 (May 5, 2003) Age 25 (April 20, 1997)
El Palmar, Murcia, Spain Birthplace Hamburg, Germany
6-1 Height 6-6
4 Career ATP Singles Titles 19
No. 9 (April 25, 2022) Career High Ranking No. 3 (Nov. 6, 2017)
No. 9 Current Ranking No. 3
$4,338,906 Career Prize Money $30,896,660
27-3 2022 Won/Loss record 21-7
7 Career Head to Head 3

Overlooked Zverev Makes it to Sunday

The way Zverev has looked, few were picking the defending champion to defend.

He was down the chart at +1200, and even that that was charitable.

But despite the return of his second-serve woes, he has found some mojo. Despite having to wait until after 11pm to start his semifinal against Stefanos Tsitsipas Saturday, he looked energized.

Unusually, he hit his forehand a lot harder than Tsitsipas did. The Greek star, frankly, looked really low on energy.

And the result was Zverev’s first win over his rival on clay.

Zverev was inside the court to hit his groundstrokes a lot more than Tsitsipas was. And he unleashed on his forehand the way so many would like him to, but he rarely does.

Alcaraz vs Zverev Match History

Year Tournament Surface Score Winner
2021 Vienna (SF) Indoor Hard 6-3, 6-3 Zverev
2021 Acapulco (R32) Outdoor Hard 6-3, 6-1 Zverev

Now, he’ll have a bigger task against Alcaraz, whose rise to the top he predicted over a year ago.

Zverev 2-0 vs Alcaraz

Was it barely a year ago that Zverev (who ended up winning the tournament) took on a gawky 17-year-old kid ranked No. 132, in the first round of Acapulco?

Why, yes it was. And Zverev gave him a comprehensive tennis lesson.

After which he praised the kid to the skies as a future champion.

If anyone thought he was being a little disingenuous then, he looks prescient now.

Greatness Skipping a Generation?

Watching heir apparents Zverev and Tsitsipas, it was readily apparent that Alcaraz has already leapfrogged right over them tennis-wise.

He’s clearly shown (although not yet at the Grand Slam level), that he’s a sturdier, more confident competitor. And then there is that youthful enthusiasm.

But does he have limits inside of a week? For any mere mortal, beating two absolute  legends back-to-back with a bum ankle would leave them with nothing for the final.

Somehow it feels as though this energetic kid is an exception to that rule.

And he’ll have a packed house in Madrid living and dying with every shot.

Zverev will give him some resistance. And Alcaraz still does go through purple matches in matches.

But unless young “Charlie” suddenly turns into a pumpkin, it’s hard to see a way through him to the title.

Best Bet: Over 23.5 Games (+105)

Author Image

Sports Writer


Source link