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
| Carlos Alcaraz (ESP)||-3.5 (+102)||-215||O 22.5 (-125)|
| 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.
Great things to come from this talent in the future. Good luck in the final tomorrow @alcarazcarlos03 🎾
— Novak Djokovic (@DjokerNole) May 7, 2022
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|
|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.
When it’s well after midnight… pic.twitter.com/QK6cA868lm
— Stephanie Myles (@OpenCourt) May 7, 2022
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
|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.
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) May 7, 2022
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.
— Tennis TV (@TennisTV) May 7, 2022
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)
Stephanie gets the straight dope from the tennis insiders. On court, she has represented her country internationally. A BA in journalism led to years on the MLB beat and a decade covering tennis globally. She’s written for Postmedia, the Guardian, the New York Times and also publishes OpenCourt.ca.