Madrid Tournament | Carlos Alcaraz defeats Novak Djokovic and reaches the final

(Madrid) Where will Carlos Alcaraz stop? 24 hours after Rafael Nadal, the new Spanish wonder who turned 19 as of Thursday, beat world no. 1 Novak Djokovic on Saturday to qualify for the final of the Masters 1000 in Madrid.

Updated yesterday at 7:45pm.

Elodie SOINARD
Media Agency France

Breaking into the top 10 in late April when he was just 18, Alcaraz won 6-7 (5/7) 7-5 7-6 (7/5) after a match marathon and a spectacular 3:35 hour minimum

He will play the second Masters 1000 final of his burgeoning career against world No. 3 and trophy holder Alexander Zverev, who defeats No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 at 1AM. And he already knows that on Monday he will climb to sixth place in the world.


PHOTO GABRIEL BOUYS, PRESS AGENCY FRANCE

Carlos Alcaraz and Novak Djokovic

Alcaraz, Nadal’s fall the day before for their third meeting, is the youngest player (before Tsitsipas) to have both ‘Rafa’ and Djokovic hooked on his hunting board – certainly not at the moment the scarecrows they were (and could be again). be). No one before him had beaten them both on clay in the same tournament.

Two stats that only confirm what has been looming for a few months: the dizzying rise of the young Spaniard, who topped the top 100 a year ago and promised a bright future. From Roland-Garros in two weeks (May 22 to June 5)?


Photo ISABEL INFANTES, REUTERS

Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas

“I feel ready to compete with them in all tournaments and on all surfaces. At the Grand Slam, with the matches in five rounds, it’s totally different, but I think I’m ready,” suspects Juan-Carlos Ferrero’s protégé, ex-N. 1 in the world and winner of Roland-Garros 2003.

Amortized in shovel

Under the Madrid sun, fans of epic duels were served. And the Caja Magica was not mistaken, launching into an ola as the result neared, and her new nugget to the end with “Si se puede!” », the Spanish equivalent of «Yes we can», loud.

During the deciding round, Djokovic held on to a thread until the tie break. But Alcaraz, who had already scored five break points and even a first match point at 5-4 in that third set, delivered the blow after more than three and a half hours of play.

Three and a half hours in which he showed his spectacular game, both offensive and creative, between forehand rockets, wild forward thrust, hyper early ball holds and brilliant ideas, like that forehand nab round at the beginning of the second. Without forgetting such a bluffing young serenity.


PHOTO ISABEL INFANTES, REUTERS

Novak Djokovic

“He kept his nerve very well. To play with so much maturity and courage at his age is impressive,” admits Djokovic.

Previously, the world no. 1 narrowly escaped in the first set in the deciding game after getting broken from the start and leading 4 games to 2.

“Best Tennis of the Year”

He didn’t even come far from a straight set win when he scored a break point after 5 games.

But Alcaraz, apparently undisturbed by his badly twisted right ankle the day before against Nadal, debilitated him – with one of those delicious drop shots that he turned into his deadly weapon – and equalized everywhere in the next game with a set. We had already played for more than two hours and the shadow reached the Madrid headquarters.

Djokovic is also affected with certainty: Anyone who is looking for their best level after a first quarter almost at a standstill, shaped by their unlikely expulsion from Australia due to a lack of vaccination against COVID-19, is undoubtedly on the right track.

If it worked out in the end, the Serb held the shock against the player in the form of the moment for a long time and avoided the dry collapse known in both Monte Carlo and Belgrade in the weeks before. His rise to power is evident.

“I played very good tennis, my best of the year. When the disappointment of the loss is over, I’ll probably take a lot of positives from this week,” he said.

In Sunday’s final, Alcaraz, who has now won a streak of nine straight games, will lift a fifth trophy, his fourth of the year after Rio, Miami (Masters 1000) and Barcelona two weeks ago.

Nothing seems to scare “Carlito”. Except maybe one thing: if you call him Carlos. So, the young phenomenon smiles, “I have the impression that I’ve done something wrong”.

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