'It is amazing': Teen clinches epic slice of tennis history

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Seen here, Carlos Alcaraz celebrates after winning the ATP's Next Gen Finals title.
Carlos Alcaraz is Spain's first winner of the Next Gen title. Pic: Getty

Teen sensation Carlos Alcaraz has capped off a phenomenal 2021 by becoming the first Spaniard to claim the Next Gen ATP Finals title after a straight sets win over American Sebastian Korda.

Just as he had done all week, Alcaraz dominated in Milan to beat Korda and write his name into the tennis record books.

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The top-seeded Alcaraz seemed to take a while to find his rhythm against his 21-year-old opponent and had to save a number of break points in his first two service games.

But once the 18-year-old Spaniard was in his stride there was no turning back as he saw off Korda 4-3 (7-5) 4-2 4-2 in 82 minutes.

Alcaraz had two championship points saved by Korda in the fifth game of the third set but that only delayed the inevitable as he won on his third, with a smash at the net.

"It is amazing," Alcaraz said in his on-court interview.

"To be able to win this tournament means a lot to me. I am so excited right now and emotional.

"I was very, very nervous at the start. I had to be calm to save the break points.

"I know Korda is serving very well, so I had to play my best in those moments"

The victory on Saturday made Alcaraz the youngest player to earn 32 tour-level wins in a season since Andrei Medvedev went 32-11 in 1992 when he was 18.

Alcaraz has jumped more than 100 places up the rankings this season to a career-high No. 32 -in a year in which he reached the US Open quarter-finals.

Carlos Alcaraz makes history in Milan 

The teen star's extraordinary feat led to an outpouring of praise from across the tennis world.

Going into the Milan decider, both Korda and Alcaraz had won all four of their matches in the tournament for the top 21-and-under players on the ATP Tour.

Alcaraz had only dropped one set all week - in the third group game, after he had already secured a semi-final spot.

Pictured here, Carlos Alcaraz celebrates after beating Sebastian Korda in the Next Gen Finals decider.
Carlos Alcaraz of Spain celebrates at match point in the decider of the Next Gen Finals against Sebastian Korda.Pic: Getty

There are different rules at the Next Gen tournament, including on-court coaching, no-Ad scoring, medical timeout limits, and Hawk-Eye making all the line calls.

The most drastic change is the shorter first-to-four set, with a tiebreaker at 3-3.

The season-ending ATP Finals - in which top-ranked Novak Djokovic and world No.2 Daniil Medvedev will headline the two groups at the elite eight-man tournament - will also be in Italy, commencing on Sunday in Turin.

with AAP

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