The Two-Time Champion Gives Up His Crown: Carlos Alcaraz Falls Against Andrey Rublev and is Eliminated From the Madrid Masters 1000

The two-time champion gives up his crown: Carlos Alcaraz falls against Andrey Rublev and is eliminated from the Madrid Masters 1000
Carlos Alcaraz (Credit: Getty Images)

At the least expected moment, after scoring the first set with solvency and comfort, Carlos Alcaraz’s destiny at the Madrid Masters 1000 took a radical turn that left him out of the competition that he won in the last two years, surpassed by Russian Andrey Rublev (4-6, 6-3 and 6-2), much more inspired, stable and, above all, more regular.

The 26-year-old Moscow native placed among the top four in the tournament held at the Caja Mágica for the first time in his career. The quarterfinals of 2022, surpassed by the Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, was his peak so far in Madrid. However, Rublev, capable of the best and the worst, whose emotional instability on the court sometimes overwhelms his talent, had already shown signs of his skill on clay. The conquest of the Monte Carlo Masters 1000 last year is an example.

Five trophies in brick dust, of the fifteen that his record includes, illuminate the virtues of the Russian who went from less to more in the face-to-face with Alcaraz with whom he had lost on the only occasion in which they had faced each other, in the group stage of the last ATP Finals.

Nothing pointed to a goodbye for Alcaraz in Madrid in this section. Encouraged by the worthy victory, elaborated, in three sets, against the German Jan Lennard Struff, he was aiming for a planned stay in the semifinals. Even more so with the appearance that the match took on at the start when the Murcian broke his rival’s serve in the fifth game and achieved an imbalance that he maintained until the end of the set.

But the match clicked from the beginning of the second set. Alcaraz, once again wearing a white muff on his right arm to protect the injury that has hampered him in recent weeks but which did not appear in Madrid, declined. For the first time, he gave up his serve. And it was Rublev who became strong with his team and did not lose until the end.

Nobody doubts the talent of the Russian, capable of the best and sometimes also the worst but with an undoubted talent in both cases that when he breaks into the game is not easy to control. The Spaniard encountered this and when he wanted to realize the situation of the game, react, change course, he couldn’t. Rublev had reached cruising speed in his tennis and no one could stop him.

He took over the set and the duel felt like it was starting again. But it stayed the same. Alcaraz in his dynamics. Erratic in some shots and unable to overwhelm an opponent driven by inspiration who responded to each setback with accurate returns, winning points.

Also Read: Rafael Nadal Clears the First Round of the Mutua Madrid Open in a Nostalgic Return

Far from countering and breaking, the Murcian lost his serve on two occasions. The distance was already astronomical. He relented, took defeat, and handed over his crown after two hours of bidding. Madrid will have a new king.

Rublev’s was Alcaraz’s fifth defeat of the season, which could not surpass the record that Nadal achieved before. Fourteen games were won in a row. Nadal achieved them in his day and Alcaraz now accumulates them, who also cannot be the first player to win the Madrid Masters 1000 three times in a row.

The El Palmar player bowed as he did before in 2024 against the Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov in the Miami Masters 1000, with the Brazilian Thiago Monteiro in Rio de Janeiro, the Chilean Nicolas Jarry in Buenos Aires, and the German Alexander Zverev in the Australian Open.

The Muscovite, who arrived in Madrid with four consecutive defeats and a confusing outlook, has accumulated as many consecutive victories to establish himself as a serious contender for success.

“ I think the key was that I was completely calm throughout the game. “I didn’t say a word, even when I was losing,” the Russian assumed on the court after the match.

Rublev, who achieved his first victory against one of the three best players in the world since he did so in 2022, will play his eighth semifinals in a Masters 1000 – third on land – against the winner of the match between the American Taylor Fritz and the Argentine Francisco Cerúndolo.

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