Carlos Alcaraz Garfia made incredible progress in 2020 to highlight his status as one of the brightest young ATP talents. After starting the year at #490 in the ATP rankings, the Spaniard climbed 354 places to reach a career-high position of #136 in October. Alcaraz Garfia ended the year at #141 and as the youngest player and only 17-year-old ranked inside the top 400.
Alcaraz started the year by playing three M15 ITF tournaments from January to February. He won back-to-back events in Manacor – the first on clay, the second on hard courts – before finishing as a runner-up on clay in Antalya.
The Spaniard then competed in his first main tour tournament at the ATP 500 in Rio in February. As a wild card, Alcaraz upset world #41 Albert Ramos-Vinolas 7-6(2) 4-6 7-6(2) in a three-hour, 36-minute first round match. He lost in three close sets to Federico Coria in the second round.
When the tour resumed following its suspension, Alcaraz played exclusively on clay in Europe. In August, the 17-year-old lost in the first round of the Todi Challenger after qualifying in his first event back. The following week, Alcaraz won his first ATP Challenger Tour title in Trieste – again after qualifying. He beat Riccardo Bonadio in straight sets in the final after defeating fellow rising star Lorenzo Musetti in a thrilling semifinal. Then, playing in his third Italian Challenger event in as many weeks, Alcaraz made the final in Cordenons – where he fell to Bernabe Zapata Miralles in three sets.
In September, Alcaraz lost in the first round of qualifying for the French Open to Aleksandar Vukic in three tight sets. He was then defeated in the second round of the Challenger in Biella by Filip Horansky.
The 17-year-old crowned his terrific year by winning two Challenger Tour titles in Spain in October. Alcaraz first prevailed in Barcelona–beating former world #23 Damir Dzumhur in three sets in the final. He then saw off world #97 Pedro Martinez in straight sets to clinch the Alicante title a week later. The Spaniard lost to Lorenzo Giustino in the first round of the Marbella Challenger to end his 2020 campaign.
Alcaraz posted a superb 20-4 record on the Challenger Tour in 2020 (all on clay courts). He also went 14-1 in ITF Tour events, and 1-1 on the ATP Tour.
Statistics also demonstrate how well the Spaniard handled pressure this year. Alcaraz won all nine tiebreaks he played on the Challenger Tour, and both tiebreaks he contested at ATP level. He only lost two tiebreaks across all events–one in French Open qualifying, and one at ITF level.
The 17-year-old also won 11 of the 13 deciding sets–and three of the four finals–that he competed in at Challenger tournaments. Looking ahead, expect big things from Carlos Alcaraz Garfia in 2021.
Main Photo from Getty.