Rafa Nadal's telling move after epic Carlos Alcaraz title triumph

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Carlos Alcaraz, pictured here after he won his first Barcelona Open title.
Rafa Nadal has congratulated Carlos Alcaraz after he won his first Barcelona Open title. Image: Getty

Rafa Nadal has paid a brilliant tribute to Carlos Alcaraz after the teen phenom won his fourth career title and third of the year at the Barcelona Open on Sunday.

On the court named after Nadal at the Real Club de Tenis Barcelona, the 18-year-old, who increasingly seems to be emulating the early exploits of the Spanish great, defeated Pablo Carreno Busta 6-3, 6-2 in the final.

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Alcaraz underlined his status as one of the most exciting young talents in men's tennis and is emerging as a serious contender for the French Open, which begins at Roland Garros next month.

After already winning titles in Miami and Rio de Janeiro this season, Alcaraz saw off Carreno Busta in just 65 minutes to complete an impressive week in Barcelona.

"It means a lot," Alcaraz said afterwards. "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 No.11 is set to rise to No.9 on Monday, making him the youngest player to break into the top 10 since Nadal did it 17 years ago - after also lifting his first Barcelona trophy.

Carlos Alcaraz, pictured here with the trophy after winning the Barcelona Open.
Carlos Alcaraz celebrates with the trophy after winning the Barcelona Open. (Photo by Gerard Franco/BSR Agency/Getty Images)

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

And Nadal is taking notice, congratulating Alcaraz and Carreno Busta on social media.

"Congratulations to Carlos for the title in Barcelona!" Nadal tweeted in Spanish.

"Also to Pablo for making the final. A spectacular week for both and for Spanish tennis that once again has a winner."

Alex de Minaur's heartbreak in semi against Alcaraz

Aussie star Alex de Minaur was left to reflect on what might have been after almost shooting down Alcaraz earlier in the day.

Australia's No.1 held two match points against Alcaraz before being defied by a miraculous winner and then edged out in an epic semi-final.

Alcaraz was outplayed for substantial periods by de Minaur before claiming a 6-7 (4-7) 7-6 (7-4) 6-4 victory.

The 'Demon' had been on the verge of by far the biggest win of his career on clay as he twice served for a straight-sets win.

Alex de Minaur, pictured here during his loss to Carls Alcaraz at the Barcelona Open.
Alex de Minaur looks on during his loss to Carls Alcaraz at the Barcelona Open. (Photo by Joan Valls/Urbanandsport /NurPhoto via Getty Images)

But when holding a 6-5, 40-15 advantage, de Minaur was beaten by an incredible forehand from Alcaraz, who somehow contrived a winner on the run, contorting his body with the ball seemingly already having beaten him.

He then salvaged another match point with de Minaur still looking shell-shocked as he went on to level the set.

After losing a subsequent see-saw tiebreak, de Minaur rallied again strongly in the decider but was eventually decisively broken at 4-5 as Alcaraz went on to celebrate after three hours 39 minutes of exhausting, exhilarating fare.

"I was lucky, I don't know how I did it, it was very close and he was fighting to the very last ball," said Alcaraz of his win over de Minaur.

"He was unbelievable, it was an unbelievable match, very close but I was fighting all the time."

with agencies

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