Defending champion Carlos Alcaraz beat Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final of the Barcelona Open, while Iga Swiatek won the Stuttgart Open after a win in the final against Aryna Sabalenka.
In football news, Manchester United set up an FA Cup final against local rivals Manchester City. Tottenham’s hopes of playing in the Champions League next year was damaged after a big loss to Newcastle United. Meanwhile in Spain, Barcelona beat Atletico Madrid to stay in course for winning the La Liga title.
Here’s a look at the key stories from international sporting events through the day for 24 April, 2023:
Alcaraz defends Barcelona crown
Carlos Alcaraz brushed aside Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets on Sunday to claim a second successive Barcelona title and hammer home his status as likely successor to Rafael Nadal as French Open champion.
The 19-year-old world number two won 6-3, 6-4 to bag his third trophy of 2023, after winning in Buenos Aires and Indian Wells, and the ninth of his career.
With 14-time French Open champion Nadal sidelined since January with a hip injury and world number one and two-time Roland Garros winner Novak Djokovic struggling with an elbow problem, Alcaraz reinforced his credentials as a major contender to add the clay-court Grand Slam title to the US Open he captured last year.
On Sunday, his only blip was dropping serve in the third game of the match.
From that point on, Alcaraz powered to a 79-minute triumph against the world number five, his fourth win in four meetings with the Greek.
Tsitsipas has now lost three finals in Barcelona after losing to Nadal in 2018 and 2021.
“It is incredible,” Alcaraz said. “To feel this energy and lift the trophy in Barcelona in front of my family and friends, and most members of my team are here as well.
“Playing this level and to lift the trophy in front of them is a good feeling for me.”
After Tsitsipas broke for a 2-1 lead, Alcaraz won five of the next six games to take charge.
His flamboyant shotmaking delighted his home crowd before a solitary break in the fifth game of the second set proved decisive.
“Me and my team were talking before the match about staying relaxed,” said Alcaraz who raced to the title without dropping a set.
“To want to play the tough moments, staying relaxed is the most important part for me. To forget the mistakes, everything and be myself on court. Not to think about all the people watching, but just me, the court, the racquet and the final.”
Alcaraz now heads to the Madrid Masters where he is also defending champion.
Swiatek beats Sabalenka in Stuttgart final
World No 1 Iga Swiatek defeated Australian Open champion Aryna Sabalenka in straight sets to win her second consecutive Stuttgart title on Sunday.
Swiatek eased past her second-ranked Belarusian opponent 6-3, 6-4 on the clay in one hour and 50 minutes.
A first tournament triumph since February will give Swiatek a confidence boost ahead of her French Open title defence in May.
“I wanted to win really, really hard, but I knew that I can’t really focus on that and just I have to keep doing my job as I did in previous matches,” she said.
“I’m pretty happy that I could kind of have a good mentality and just focus on what I want to do tennis-wise.”
Sunday’s match was a repeat of last year’s final in Stuttgart, which Swiatek also won in dominant fashion, 6-2, 6-2.
She has now sat atop the WTA rankings for more than a year and is a red-hot favourite for another title at Roland Garros.
Manchester United in FA Cup final
Manchester United beat Brighton on penalties at Wembley on Sunday to set up an FA Cup final against treble-chasing Manchester City after the match finished goalless.
Victor Lindelof scored the decisive spot-kick as Erik ten Hag’s team won 7-6, following a miss by Solly March, staying on course for a domestic cup double.
The semi-final in front of a crowd of more than 81,000 finished 0-0 after extra-time, with neither side showing the cutting edge required to break the deadlock.
The result means United will have the chance to derail City’s bid to match their unique achievement of winning the treble of Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup in the first-ever meeting between the rivals in an FA Cup final.
But the Red Devils, who won the League Cup earlier this season to end a six-year trophy drought, will have to find better form if they are to compete with Pep Guardiola’s red-hot team.
“On Thursday I saw a team I didn’t recognise but today we went back to usual,” Ten Hag told the BBC, referring to their Europa League horror show against Sevilla.
“I could see determination and resilience. We fought for every yard and competed in every battle. We had good chances.”
Newcastle thump Tottenham
Tottenham’s bid to qualify for the Champions League suffered a hammer blow as they conceded five times in the first 21 minutes of a humiliating 6-1 defeat at top-four rivals Newcastle on Sunday.
Cristian Stellini’s side were buried by an avalanche of goals from Jacob Murphy and Alexander Isak, who both netted twice, and strikes from Joelinton and Callum Wilson.
Harry Kane’s reply was no consolation for woeful Tottenham, who look certain to miss out on a place in the Premier League’s top four after a second successive loss.
The north Londoners are six points behind third-placed Newcastle and fourth-placed Manchester United, having played two more games than United and one more than Newcastle.
Fifth-placed Tottenham host United on Thursday and a defeat against Erik ten Hag’s team would surely end their faint hopes of salvaging their troubled campaign.
“It was my responsibility to decide how we play. We decided to do it differently because of the injuries, but it was wrong,” interim boss Stellini said of switching to a back four.
“It’s very difficult to understand why the first 25 minutes were so bad. We were not prepared to play this type of tough game. To suffer, control the space and win duels.”
There is a bleak future ahead for Tottenham, who have no permanent manager lined up for next season and no director of football after Fabio Paratici’s resignation on Friday.
Paratici stepped down after failing in his appeal against a 30-month worldwide Fifa ban for his involvement in allegations of false accounting at his former club Juventus.
Tottenham’s heaviest defeat of the season was a new low for a club already in turmoil after Antonio Conte’s departure by “mutual consent” in March after just 16 months in charge.
Conte had exposed the rifts behind the scenes at Tottenham when he called the players “selfish” and criticised the club’s culture in an explosive rant after their draw at lowly Southampton.
Barcelona beat Atletico Madrid
Ferran Torres’s strike helped Barcelona emerge from a recent slump to earn a 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid on Sunday in La Liga, taking a big step towards clinching their first title since 2019.
Sevilla, fresh from thrashing Manchester United in the Europa League, snatched a late winner to beat high-flying Villarreal 2-1, with Youssef En-Nesyri heading home in stoppage time.
After two consecutive goalless draws for Barca, second-place Real Madrid cut into their lead by beating Celta Vigo on Saturday, but Torres’s low first-half finish restored their advantage to 11 points with eight games remaining.
Diego Simeone’s Atletico, third, arrived as Spain’s most in-form side but Torres stroked home from the edge of the box in the 44th minute to secure victory for Xavi Hernandez’s side.
Barcelona broke the deadlock just before the interval, with Raphinha controlling a long ball and crossing to Torres on the edge of the box, who swept the ball home past Jan Oblak.
It was Barcelona’s first goal since Torres’ strike against Elche on April 1, ending a painful run of three games without finding the net.
With text inputs from AFP
Updated through the day