Alcaraz cruises past Carreno Busta to win Barcelona Open

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Carlos Alcaraz celebrates after beating Pablo Carreno Busta to win the Barcelona Open on Saturday. (AFP/Josep LAGO) (Josep LAGO)

Carlos Alcaraz underlined his status as one of the most exciting young talents in men's tennis on Sunday by beating fellow Spaniard Pablo Carreno Busta to win the Barcelona Open.

Alcaraz defeated Carreno Busta 6-3, 6-2 to claim a fourth title of his career and third this year, with the 18-year-old emerging as a serious contender for the French Open, which begins at Roland Garros next month.

After already winning on hard court in Miami and clay in Rio de Janeiro this season, Alcaraz saw off Carreno Busta in a swift 65 minutes to complete an impressive week in Barcelona.

"It means a lot," said Alcaraz. "I've watched this tournament since I was a kid. I always wished to play in this tournament and of course to be able to win this tournament."

The world number 11 is set to rise to number nine on Monday, making him the youngest player to break into the top 10 since Rafael Nadal did it 17 years ago, after also lifting his first Barcelona trophy.

"I'm really, really happy to be part of an (historic) Spanish list," Alcaraz added.

The youngster from Murcia had already knocked out world number five Stefanos Tsitsipas in the quarter-finals while rain on Saturday meant a gruelling semi-final victory over Alex De Minaur, lasting three sets and 223 minutes, came on Sunday morning, just three hours before the final.

Alcaraz saved two match points to beat De Minaur 6-7 (4/7), 7-6 (7/4), 6-4.

In theory, Carreno Busta should have begun the final the fresher of the two, after he needed only two sets to see off Argentina's Diego Schwartzman but Alcaraz outpowered his compatriot to seal a comfortable win, his first triumph on home soil in Spain.

Victory also extends Alcaraz's remarkable record so far in finals. He has won four out four, winning eight sets and losing none.

Alcaraz lost in the third round at the Australian Open in January but will certainly be one to watch at the French Open.

The teenager broke Carreno Busta twice in each set and dropped only four points on his own serve in the whole match.

One year ago in Barcelona, Alcaraz was 119 in the world and lost in the first round against Frances Tiafoe in straight sets.

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