LONDON — Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz issued a warning at Wimbledon as he comfortably beat Alex de Minaur 6-4 6-4 to win the Queen’s Club title on Sunday and return to world number one.
In baking temperatures, the 20-year-old had too much firepower for his tricky Australian opponent as he won his first grass-court title in impressive fashion.
It was only Alcaraz’s third tournament on grass, but the way he got through the draw bodes well for his hopes at Wimbledon, where he will be seeded number one.
De Minaur, the first Australian to reach the London final since Lleyton Hewitt in 2006, had break service chances as he led 4-3 in the first set but couldn’t take them.
Alcaraz then broke serve in the next game before closing the set on serve.
De Minaur double-faulted to return a service game at the start of the second set and there was no way the muscular Spaniard would pass up the chance to clinch his fifth title of 2023.
Alcaraz is the fourth Spanish player to win the prestigious pre-Wimbledon tournament and now hopes to emulate Rafa Nadal who triumphed at Queen’s in 2008 before winning Wimbledon for the first time a few weeks later.
“So many legends have won here so to see my name on the trophy surrounded by great champions is amazing,” defending US Open champion Alcaraz said on the court.
While Novak Djokovic remains the favorite to retain his Wimbledon title, Alcaraz will be the top seed at the tournament, where he reached the fourth round last year.
The way he headed to the grass, winning 10 straight sets after losing his first of the week at Queen’s, should make him a serious contender at the All England Club.
“I didn’t start the week too well, but I adapted my movement and ended the week with a lot of energy,” he said.
In addition to Nadal, several other players have recently won Wimbledon after conquering the Queen’s Club, including Andy Murray in 2013 and 2016, Pete Sampras in 1995 and 1999 and Lleyton Hewitt in 2002. Boris Becker, then a teenager, also did the double in 1985 as a teenager.
Even 22-time Grand Slam champion Nadal has been slow to adapt his game to the grass, but the speed at which Alcaraz has seemed at ease on the surface is astonishing.
De Minaur is one of the shrewdest grass players in the world, but there was nothing he could do as Alcaraz showed great skills on the grass, including an impressive sliced backhand when needed and confidence around the net.
His forehand, meanwhile, was nothing short of devastating, regularly registering 90 mph and drawing gasps from the crowd.
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