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Carlos Alcaraz takes BNP Paribas Open title, reclaims No. 1 ranking

Carlos Alcaraz celebrates after defeating Daniil Medvedev in the men's singles final at the BNP Paribas Open.
Carlos Alcaraz celebrates after defeating Daniil Medvedev in the men’s singles final at the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells on Sunday.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)
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Carlos Alcaraz defeated Daniil Medvedev 6-3, 6-2 on Sunday to win the BNP Paribas Open title and regain the world’s No. 1 ranking.

The 19-year-old Spaniard will move from second to first in the ATP Tour rankings Monday, displacing Novak Djokovic. The Serb withdrew from Indian Wells before the tournament began when he couldn’t gain entry to the U.S. because he’s unvaccinated for COVID-19.

In the women’s final, Elena Rybakina beat Aryna Sabalenka 7-6 (11), 6-4 and handed the world’s second-ranked player just her second loss this year.

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Carlos Alcaraz becomes the youngest U.S. Open men’s champion since Pete Sampras 32 years ago, defeating Casper Ruud in four sets.

Sept. 11, 2022

Last year, Alcaraz became the youngest man to reach No. 1 in ATP history after his title at the U.S. Open.

He achieved another mark in the third round at Indian Wells. That’s when Alcaraz notched his 100th career match victory, the second-quickest player behind John McEnroe to do so.

Alcaraz and Rybakina earned $1,262,220 each for their wins.

Rybakina carried the momentum from her straight-sets semifinal upset of top-ranked Iga Swiatek into the final and beat Sabalenka for the first time in five career meetings.

Elena Rybakina returns a shot during her victory over Aryna Sabalenka.
Elena Rybakina returns a shot during her victory over Aryna Sabalenka in the BNP Paribas Open women’s singles final Sunday.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

For the first time in their budding rivalry, the match didn’t go three sets. Sabalenka went the distance to beat Rybakina in the Australian Open final in January. In that match, Sabalenka fired 17 aces and rallied from a set down to win her first Grand Slam title.

This time, the 10th-seeded Rybakina had seven aces and No. 2 seed Sabalenka committed 10 double faults. Sabalenka won just 11 of 35 second-serve points.

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“I would say that I was super disappointed with my serve, so I was back to old habits,” she said. “I was like a little bit overreacting on things, and I wasn’t there in the first two games in the second set.”

Rybakina broke for leads of 2-0 and 5-2 in the second set before Sabalenka closed to 5-4. But Rybakina served out the victory in just over two hours.

“Hopefully I will come back next year and repeat this result,” Rybakina said.

Rybakina improved her match record to 16-4 this year; Sabalenka fell to 17-2.

During the victory ceremony, Rybakina, the current Wimbledon champion, told the crowd it was the first time she’d beaten Sabalenka.

Sabalenka stepped forward, took the mic and said, “I will make sure it was the last one.”

Then she smiled.

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