Birthday boy Alcaraz earns spot in Madrid final

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Carlos Alcaraz celebrated his 20th birthday Friday by returning to the Madrid Open final after beating Borna Coric in straight sets.

The defending champion defeated the 17th-seeded Coric 6-4, 6-3 on the outdoor clay in yet another dominant performance by the home favorite.

Following the win — Alcaraz’s 28th in 30 matches this year — he cut a massive cake on court.

The second-ranked Alcaraz will play Jan-Lennard Struff or Aslan Karatsev on Sunday in the final.

“It means a lot to me, playing a final again here in Madrid. It’s such a special place for me. I have great memories since I came here to play under-12s,” Alcaraz said. “Last year it was amazing. I’ll enjoy the final and try to make all of Spain happy. I don’t think about the pressure here. I just think about playing great matches and getting good results. I enjoy every single second here.”

Alcaraz is aiming for his fourth title of the season after triumphs in Buenos Aires, Indian Wells and Barcelona. The Spaniard is also preparing for the French Open this month.

If Alcaraz successfully defends his title in Madrid, he can recover the world No. 1 ranking by playing one match in Rome next week.

The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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