Top seed Carlos Alcaraz snapped Daniil Medvedev's 19-match win streak with a 6-3, 6-2 rout in the Indian Wells final on Sunday that will see him leapfrog Novak Djokovic and return to world number one in the rankings.
Alcaraz did not drop a set across six matches in the tournament and his performance in the California desert gives him an added boost of confidence ahead of his Miami Open title defence.
"I'm playing great. Of course today, the conditions today were pretty tough. Of course Daniil didn't play at his best, obviously," said Alcaraz.
"All I can say is I'm really happy with my performance, the way that I was playing this tournament. I'm looking forward to playing this level in Miami as well."
Alcaraz enjoyed a dream start to the matchup of first-time Indian Wells finalists as he got an early break for a 2-0 lead and dropped just six points on serve, racing through the opening set in 36 minutes.
Russian fifth seed Medvedev, who was looking to add another title to the ones he collected in Rotterdam, Doha and Dubai over the last month, was unable to stop the bleeding and had no answer for the Spaniard's brilliance the rest of the way.
Alcaraz broke to love in the first game of the second set and held at love for a 2-0 lead as a resigned Medvedev dropped 10 consecutive points dating back to the first frame.
The hard-hitting Spaniard kept dragging Medvedev from corner to corner and consolidated another break for a commanding 4-0 lead while barely breaking a sweat as he closed out a seemingly stress-free victory in 70 minutes without facing a break point.
A bruised and battered Medvedev was clearly not at his best after having rolled his right ankle in the fourth round and then cutting open his thumb in the quarter-final. He was also unable to deal with the windy conditions during the final.
"It was a surprising week in many aspects," said Medvedev. "The ankle, the thumb, the tennis, wind, whatever. But we almost made it. ... I will try to be better next time."
The victory marked the third ATP Masters 1000 trophy for 19-year-old Alcaraz, who became the youngest world number one last September when he won the U.S. Open and held that spot for 20 weeks until Djokovic reclaimed it in January.
Djokovic withdrew from the draw for the Indian Wells event in an indication that his application for a COVID-19 vaccine waiver to enter the U.S. might have failed. The Serbian has also withdrawn from the Miami Open.
Rybakina beats Sabalenka to claim Indian Wells title
Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina beat a misfiring Aryna Sabalenka 7-6(11) 6-4 on Sunday to claim the Indian Wells title and avenge her loss to the Belarusian in the Australian Open final.
Rybakina, playing in her first WTA 1000 final, saved three set points in the opening frame and was never really tested in the second where she cruised to a victory that will send her to a career-high seventh in the rankings.
The triumph in the California desert was the fourth career WTA singles title for the 23-year-old Rybakina and her first against second seed Sabalenka in five attempts.
"It's actually the first time it went my way (against her) so we'll see, hopefully we are going to play many more finals," Rybakina said during the trophy presentation before Sabalenka stepped in and joked: "I'll make sure it was the last one."
Rybakina, who beat defending champion and world number one Iga Swiatek to reach the final, dropped serve when Sabalenka landed a forehand lob just inside the baseline for a 3-2 lead followed by a routine hold that gave the Belarusian control.
But the Kazakh 10th seed did not back down and immediately held at love to steady the ship before Sabalenka handed back the break with an untimely double fault that leveled the match at 4-4 from where the duo remained on serve to force a tiebreaker.
Despite her struggles, Sabalenka had her chances during the opening frame where she squandered three set point chances but also turned aside five set points.
Sabalenka's 10th double fault gave Rybakina her sixth set point of the opening frame at 12-11 in the tiebreak from where she closed it out when the Belarusian sent a forehand long.
Rybakina used a pair of breaks to bulldoze her way to a 5-2 lead in the second set before Sabalenka produced a sizzling stretch to get within 5-4.
But Rybakina sensed her opportunity and closed the deal on her first championship point opportunity when Sabalenka sent a service return into the net.
"I didn't serve that well, and it started to get a little bit more windy and I didn't adjust my serve," said Sabalenka. "Of course I felt like she stepped in a little bit and started playing a little bit more aggressive."