Mutua Madrid Final Preview – written by Adrian Chetcuti
Top seed Carlos Alcaraz takes on lucky looser Jan-Lennard Struff in an unlikely Madrid Masters final as the Spaniard looks to go back-to-back at the Caja Magica. The 20-year-old beat 17th seed Borna Coric in straight sets (6-4, 6-3) to extend his perfect record on Spanish soil to 20-0.On the day he turned 20, the World No. 2 withstood a stern challenge from Coric, converting four of six breakpoints to cross the finish line in one hour and 41 minutes. In a tight opener, a lone break of serve in the fifth game sufficed as Alcaraz moved within a set of consecutive Madrid finals. A competitive second set ensued, where the Spaniard broke back for 2-2. From there, it was all Alcaraz, who broke the Croatian two more times to bring up his 28th win in 30 matches this year. He’s now 10-1 in Madrid, blasting 30 winners and winning 58 percent of second-serve points. Meanwhile, Struff’s dream run at Madrid continued. In a battle between two first-time Masters 1000 semi-finals, the German recovered from a set down to beat Aslan Karatsev. This was a rematch of the pair’s final round of qualifying contest a week ago. Struff blasted 37 winners and broke his opponent thrice. With his two-hour, 28-minute victory, the 33-year-old is guaranteed to reach a career-high ranking of at least No. 28 as he reached his second singles final (also 2021 Munich). Only the third lucky loser to reach a Masters 1000 semi-final, he will look to become the second this year (also Soonwoo Kwon, Adelaide 2) to win a title. Struff is now 11-6 this year and 8-3 in Madrid, with six of those wins coming this fortnight. Alcaraz is 1-1 against Struff, who won the pair’s lone clay court meeting two years ago at the Roland Garros third round. The Spaniard, though, exacted revenge in the Wimbledon first round last year, triumphing in five sets.
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