CHAMPIONSHIP POINT: Alcaraz defeats Korda

MILAN (AP) — Just as he had done all week, Carlos Alcaraz dominated in Milan to beat Sebastian Korda of the United States and win the Next Gen ATP Finals on Saturday, capping a brilliant season for the Spanish teenager.

The top-seeded Alcaraz seemed to take a while to find his proper rhythm and had to save a number of break points in his first two service games. But once the 18-year-old was in his stride there was no turning back as he saw off Korda 4-3 (5), 4-2, 4-2 in 82 minutes.

Alcaraz immediately ran over to hug his coach, former top-ranked Juan Carlos Ferrero.

"He is everything for me. I owe him everything," Alcaraz said when asked about his coach in an on-court interview.

Alcaraz had seen two championship points saved by Korda in the fifth game of the third set but that only delayed the inevitable as he won on his third, with a smash at the net.

"It is amazing," Alcaraz said. "To be able to win this tournament means a lot to me. I am so excited right now and emotional. I was very, very nervous at the start. I had to be calm to save the break points. I know Korda is serving very well, so I had to play my best in those moments."

The victory made Alcaraz the youngest player to earn 32 tour-level wins in a season since Andrei Medvedev went 32-11 in 1992 when he was 18.


Alcaraz has moved more than 100 places up the rankings this season to a career-high No. 32 and reached the U.S. Open quarterfinals.

"He's definitely playing a lot better than what his ranking is. He won't be in that spot for long," said Korda, who is ranked number 39.

"It's been an incredible year for me. I'll take a couple of days off and then back to work. So I can do one step better and make the ATP Nitto Finals next year."

Both Korda and Alcaraz had won all four of their matches in the tournament for the top 21-and-under players on the ATP Tour. Alcaraz had only dropped one set all week — in the third group game, after he had already secured a semifinal spot.

They were also the first Spaniard and American to make the final, in the fourth edition of the tournament.

The ATP Finals will also be in Italy, in Turin next week. Previous Next Gen finalists, 2018 champion Stefanos Tsitsipas and Andrey Rublev, are playing in that tournament, while 2019 winner Jannik Sinner is first reserve.

There are different rules at the Next Gen tournament, including on-court coaching, no-Ad scoring, medical timeout limits, and Hawk-Eye making all the line calls.

The most drastic change is the shorter first-to-four set, with a tiebreaker at 3-3.