Twelve days ago, Jan-Lennard Struff lost against Aslan Karatsev in the final round of qualifying at the Mutua Madrid Open. After receiving a lucky loser spot, the German more than grabbed his chance, becoming the first lucky loser to reach the final at an ATP Masters 1000.

The German is proud of his remarkable run in the Spanish capital despite falling in the final against Carlos Alcaraz on Sunday.

“It’s been an incredible journey from lucky loser to be in the final [and] runner-up here,” Struff said. “I hope that it gives me a lot of push for in the next weeks and months. It was a best-career achievement so far.”

“Of course I wanted to go all the way to win today, but I would definitely say if someone told me two weeks ago you’re going to play the finals, I would take it,” Struff later added. “I’m proud of the way I played. I am proud of the way I presented myself today.”

Struff upset Stefanos Tsitsipas and earned a revenge win against Karatsev in the Spanish capital after falling against the 29-year-old in qualifying. Despite playing six three-set matches en route to the championship match, the 33-year-old was pleased with how his body held up against Alcaraz.

“Physically I felt pretty good. I could have continued playing. It was just a lot [more] mental,” said Struff, who was competing in just his second tour-level final compared to Alcaraz’s 13th. “The past matches were also [mental], because it was very new for me. It was demanding for the mind.”

Struff is up to No. 28 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings and has jumped 18 places to 13th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Race To Turin. The German was full of praise for the 20-year-old Alcaraz, who will rise to No. 1 by playing his first match in Rome.

“If he’s playing, if he has so much time, he’s just too good,” Struff said when asked about Alcaraz. “He’s playing too well. And I tried to put a bit of pressure on him, tried to take a bit his time away and go for my shots, because he’s [physically better]. He’s very, very fast. He likes to rally. He like to play very aggressive… I was in the game. I had my chances. But he was too good at the end and congrats to him.”

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