Top-5 Alcaraz sets All Next Gen finals with Musetti | ATP Tour

Carlo Alcaraz resisted a hard test Alex Molcan on Saturday at Hamburg European Open to host a marquee final against another #NextGenATP star Lorenzo Musetti at the ATP 500 event.

The 7-6(2), 6-1 win puts the Spaniard at No. 5 on the Pepperstone ATP Live rankings, with No. 4 on offer should he clinch the Hamburg title. Regardless of the final result, Alcaraz will enter the top five of the Pepperstone ATP rankings for the first time.

“It was tough,” said Alcaraz after the game. “Obviously he played really well. The first set was very tight. I’m really happy to finish the first set well.

“In the second set I think he was a bit down. He didn’t play well in the second set. I left the match with a lot of confidence and played very well.”

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The Spaniard was tested early on by Molcan, who matched his aggression from the baseline throughout the opening set. Alcaraz twice led by a break in the opening game but had to force a tiebreak as the Slovakian fought back with a tricky combination of powerful punches and skillful drop shots – a tactic Alcaraz used to great effect throughout the season.

“I couldn’t read the drop shots from him,” added Alcaraz. β€œHe was better on the drop shots today so I was a little [frustrated] in the first sentence.”

But after Alcaraz contributed to Molcan’s success with unforced errors late in the set, the Spaniard cleaned up his game in the tie-break as he raced to a 6/0 lead before completing it.

The Spaniard, an experienced front-runner, carried that momentum into the second set as he unloaded from the baseline, with Molcan unable to offer the kind of resistance he summoned in the opening set.

The Spaniard can now look ahead and is looking to improve on his 5-0 record in tour-level finals, including 4-0 this season. He breaks a draw with a win against Musetti Rafael Nadal for most titles in the 2022 ATP Tour season.

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“Lorenzo is playing really well,” said Alcaraz. “Obviously he’s a great player. It’s going to be a great final. He played great games before the final. [I have] so I have a lot of confidence for the final and hope to do it six against six.”

Both Alcaraz and Musetti enter the final in Hamburg behind eight-set winning streaks after both men lost the first set of their seasons.

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