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Alcaraz wins Queen’s Club final for 1st title on grass and reclaims top ranking ahead of Wimbledon

LONDON (AP) – After picking up his first grass-court title on Sunday and reclaiming the top ranking, an increasingly confident Carlos Alcaraz says he sees himself as one of the favourites to win Wimbledon next month.

Despite struggling at times in the first set, Alcaraz beat Alex De Minaur 6-4, 6-4 in the Queen’s Club Championships final.

It was only the third tournament of Alcaraz’s young career on grass after two disappointing performances at Wimbledon.

This year at Wimbledon could be a different matter, however.

The victory saw the 20-year-old Spaniard move above Novak Djokovic in the rankings and confirmed the US Open champion as a serious challenger to the Serbian’s crown at Wimbledon. Alcaraz lost in the fourth round to Jannik Sinner last year.

“Honestly, I have a lot of confidence right now coming into Wimbledon,” Alcaraz said. “I ended the week playing at the high level. So right now I feel one of the favourites to win Wimbledon.

“I have to get more experience on grass … But obviously after beating amazing guys, great players, and the level that I played, I consider myself one of the favourites or one of the players to be able to win Wimbledon.”

In his first match at Queen’s, Alcaraz needed a third-set tiebreaker to get past French journeyman Arthur Rinderknech, but as the week went on he grew in confidence on the surface.

However, Alcaraz knows he will have to improve still further to oust Djokovic from his throne.

“I saw a statistic that Novak has won more matches in Wimbledon than the other top 20 players (put together),” Alcaraz said. “What can I say about that, you know? I mean, Novak is the main favourite to win Wimbledon. That’s obvious.

“But I will try to play at this level, to have chances to beat him or make the final at Wimbledon.”

Playing his first final on grass, Alcaraz had to save two break points against De Minaur in the eighth game of the first set, broke in the next game and then served out for the set.

Alcaraz won the only break point of the second set, when De Minaur double-faulted, and sealed the title on his first match point when the Australian sent a return long.

“It means a lot to have my name on the trophy,” Alcaraz said. “It was special to play here where so many legends have won. To see my name surrounded by the great champions is amazing.”

Wimbledon starts July 3.

Carlos Alcaraz of Spain, kisses the trophy after defeating Alex de Minaur of Australia, in the men’s singles final match at the Queens Club tennis tournament in London on Sunday. PHOTO: AP
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