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Alcaraz surprised by rapid rise in rankings and top 10 spot

ATHENS — Rising tennis star Carlos Alcaraz has no plans of slowing down after his victory at Barcelona at the weekend and making the top 10 for the first time on Monday but said he was surprised by his quick rise through the rankings.

The 18-year-old captured the fourth title of his young career by beating eighth seed Pablo Carreno Busta 6-3, 6-2 in the Barcelona Open final on Sunday, hours after winning a gruelling semi-final that was postponed due to rain.

“I did not think I would reach this stage at 18 years old,” he told a news conference at a junior event. “It is for the first time for me in the top ten. It means a lot.

“For me, it’s a dream come true and I have been fighting for this since I was a child. I work every day, work hard to be here to have chance to get titles to beat the top players in the world but not at this age.”

He featured at ninth when the world rankings were released on Monday, entering the top 10 at the same age, on the same date and after a triumph in the same tournament as compatriot and 21-times major winner Rafa Nadal did in 2005.

“It is just a coincidence that it’s the same with Rafa. I just focus on my game,” he added.

His singles tally stands at four titles following triumphs at Miami and Rio de Janeiro this year and a victory at Umag last July, when he became the youngest tour-level champion since Kei Nishikori claimed the title at Delray Beach in 2008.

The Spaniard is now seen as one of the favourites for the French Open starting next month behind record winner Nadal.

“I am playing well, with a lot of confidence for myself. I am going to have chances to get results in Roland Garros, to be in the last rounds,” he said at the IMG Future Stars Under-12 tournament.

“I reached my goal to be (in the) top 10. I want to keep growing as a player, improving every day, trying to keep claiming titles, trying to climb up the rankings.” — Reuters

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