Alcaraz overthrows Djokovic to advance to Madrid final

The Spaniard will face Stefanos Tsitsipas or Alexander Zverev on Sunday to win the title in the final of the Masters 1000 in Madrid.

Where will Carlos Alcaraz stop? 24 hours after Rafael Nadal, the new Spanish marvel, 19 years old since Thursday, made world number 1 Novak Djokovic bite on Saturday to qualify for the final of the Masters 1000 in Madrid. Entering the top 10 at the end of April, when he was still only 18, Alcaraz won 6-7 (5/7), 7-5, 7-6 (7/5) after a match marathon and 3h35 min spectacular.

He will play the second final of the Masters 1000 of his nascent career against No. 3 and world trophy Alexander Zverev, victorious over No. 5 Stefanos Tsitsipas by 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 at one in the morning. And he knows that on Monday he will be ranked sixth in the world. Alcaraz becomes the youngest player (ahead of Tsitsipas) to hang on to his hunting board at the same time. “Rafaand Djokovic, probably not at the moment the scarecrows they were (and could be again). Before him, no one had ever beaten them both in the same clay court tournament.

Two statistics that only confirm what has been emerging for a few months now: the dizzying rise of the young Spaniard, even beyond the top 100 a year ago and which promised a bright future. From Roland-Garros in two weeks (from May 22 to June 5)? “I feel ready to compete with them in every tournament, on every surface. At the Grand Slam, with matches in five sets, it’s totally different, but I think I’m ready», Assumes the protégé of Juan-Carlos Ferrero, former number 1 in the world and winner of Roland-Garros 2003.

Shoveled

Under the Madrid sun, fans of epic duels have been served. And the Magic Box made no mistake about it by launching itself into a wave as the outcome approached and accompanying its new nugget to the end with “It’s a shame!“, the Spanish equivalent of”if we can“, out loud.

In a thread throughout the decisive round, Djokovic held on until the tie-break. But Alcaraz, who had already managed five breaks and even a first game in 5-4 in this third set, ended up giving the blow after more than three and a half hours of play. Three and a half hours during which he went show up. his spectacular game, both offensive and creative, amidst right-handed rockets, fierce desire to play forward, super early ball catches and brilliant inspirations, like this right-footed shot that slipped at the start of the second inning. Not to mention such a youthful composure. “He held his nerves very well. Playing with so much maturity and courage at his age is awesome“Djokovic admits.

Earlier, the world number one had narrowly escaped in the first set, in the decisive match, after having broken from the start and leading 4 games to 2. Even not so far from winning in sets in a row, he got a break. point to 5 matches all. But Alcaraz, obviously not bothered by the badly twisted right ankle the day before against Nadal, dismissed it – with one of his delicious drops that became his fatal weapon – and in the next game, he tied a set everywhere . We had been playing for more than two hours and the shadow reached the Central Madrid.

I played very good tennis, the best of the year

Novak Djokovic

Even defeated, Djokovic leaves with certainty: he is looking for his best level after an almost stopped first quarter marked by his unlikely expulsion from Australia, for lack of vaccination against Covid-19, goes, certainly on the right track. If he ended up folding, the Serb endured for a long time the shock against the player in the form of a moment, and avoided the dry breakdown known in both Monte Carlo and Belgrade in previous weeks. His rise to power is evident. “I played very good tennis, the best of the year. Probably a factor as to why they’re doing so poorlyhe believes.

At the end of Sunday, Alcaraz, now in a series of nine games won in a row, will go on to win a fifth trophy, the fourth of the year after Rio, Miami (Masters 1000) and Barcelona two weeks ago. Nothing seems scaryCarlito“Except maybe one thing: when you call him Carlos. That’s how the young phenomenon smiles.”I feel like I did something wrong“.

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