Alcaraz can emulate Rafael Nadal and overtake Djokovic in Indian Wells
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Carlos Alcaraz is just two match wins away from lifting the Indian Wells trophy, which would mark his eighth career title. The teenager already knew he could overtake Novak Djokovic in the rankings by winning the tournament but could also mirror one of Rafael Nadal’s records. Alcaraz will become only the second player since his countryman to win three Masters before the age of 20 with a victory in the Californian desert.
Alcaraz is on a roll in Indian Wells, reaching the semi-final for the second successive year. The teenager was already one of the title contenders in California as the top seed and continued to prove himself on Thursday by getting his first career victory over Felix Auger-Aliassime in the quarter-final – previously going 0-3 against the Canadian.
The teenager must now get through Jannik Sinner and either Daniil Medvedev or Frances Tiafoe in the final to lift the title. And Alcaraz is playing for more than just another trophy this week, as he can emulate one of Nadal’s achievements as well as return to No 1 in the world.
Nadal is currently the only man to win at least three Masters 1000 titles before turning 20, lifting a whopping six trophies at Masters level while he was still a teenager. Alcaraz has already won 1000-point events in Miami and Madrid, and victory in Indian Wells would help him join his countryman in the exclusive list.
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Alcaraz also already knew that he could regain his world No 1 ranking with a title victory in Indian Wells, and will return to the top on Monday if he can pick up the eighth trophy of his young career. And the 19-year-old has made it no secret that he wants to leapfrog Djokovic to get back to the top.
“For me, winning the tournament and being No 1 again is a really good goal and I really want to go for it,” Alcaraz said ahead of the tournament. The Spaniard became the youngest No 1 in ATP history last year after winning the US Open, staying at the top for the rest of the year.
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But he was left unable to try and hold onto his ranking at the start of the year after getting injured and withdrawing from the Australian Open. Djokovic then overtook Alcaraz when he won his 22nd Grand Slam title in Melbourne during the teenager’s absence.
And Alcaraz is hoping to get some revenge in Indian Wells while Djokovic can’t compete after his vaccine waiver request to enter the country was denied. However, the 19-year-old will need to defend his Miami Open title later this month to stay at the top or the Serb will surpass him again on April 3.
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