Carlos Alcaraz stuns tennis world No. 1 Novak Djokovic to reach Madrid Open final

MADRID — After beating Rafael Nadal on Friday, Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz did it again on Saturday with an upset against world number one Novak Djokovic at the Madrid Tennis Open.

After beating his idol Nadal in the quarter-finals, the 19-year-old rallied to beat Djokovic 6-7(5), 7-5, 7-6(5) in a game that lasted more than 3 and a half hours. to reach the final of the Madrid Open.

“It was one of those matches to enjoy,” Alcaraz said. “Despite the tension, despite being in the semi-finals of a Masters 1000, being 7-6 in the third set tiebreaker… I enjoyed it. Until the last point, I was able to smile.”

Alcaraz converted their third match point to claim victory in front of a raucous crowd on center court at Caja Magica. He became the first player to defeat Djokovic and Nadal in the same event on clay.

“To play against the world No.1 player, in front of this audience here in Madrid, is incredible,” he said.

A victory on Sunday will give Alcaraz their fourth title this season, the best of any player.

He will face defending champion Alexander Zverev or Stefanos Tsitsipas, who met late in the semi-finals on Saturday.

Alcaraz, the youngest player in the top 10 since Nadal in 2005, has won this year in Miami, Rio de Janeiro and Barcelona.

He beat Nadal for the first time on Friday, then triumphed over Djokovic in their opener, becoming just the fifth player to defeat both superstars on back-to-back days – and the first to do so since Roger Federer achieved the feat. at the 2010 ATP Finals.

Alcaraz also became the youngest player to defeat an ATP world No. 1 since Nadal beat Federer in the 2005 French Open semi-final on his 19th birthday.

Djokovic remains without a title this season as he continues to try to regain his best form ahead of defending his title at Roland Garros this month.

Alcaraz, Madrid’s youngest to reach the semi-finals, took an early lead in the opening set but Djokovic rallied.

The Spaniard took the second set after Djokovic wasted three break opportunities to serve for the game, and kept the pressure on through the third until finally capitalizing on one of his many chances in the tiebreaker .

The match winner was one of more than 30 Alcaraz forehand winners who kept Djokovic on the defensive throughout. Alcaraz had 51 winners against 24 for Djokovic.

“It was so close,” Alcaraz said. “He had the opportunity to break my serve at the end of the second set. In the first set as well, it was so tight in the tiebreaker. Honestly, I don’t know what made the difference.”

Djokovic praised Alcaraz after joining Madrid this week and said his son had already replaced Nadal with the young Spaniard as his favorite player.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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