Carlos Alcaraz became the first player to beat Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in the same clay court tournament when he stormed into the final of the Madrid Open on Saturday. The 19-year-old Spaniard reached his second ATP Masters final in five weeks, taking his first-ever win over a reigning world champion by beating Djokovic 6-7 (5/7), 7-5, 7-6 (7/5) in front of a sold-out home crowd in the Caja Magica. Alcaraz now owns seven top 10 wins this season, and will compete in Sunday’s final — against Stefanos Tsitsipas or defending champions Alexander Zverev — with a nine-game winning streak, having won in Barcelona a few weeks ago. .
He is the youngest player in 17 years to beat a number one in the world.
A calm and controlled Alcaraz kicked off the game with a service break, thanks to a well-timed cross-court backhand pass, and soon led the top series 3-1.
Djokovic, who turns 35 this month, hit back to a 4-4 tie as the set deservedly went to a tie-break.
A stoked Djokovic accelerated to a 5-1 lead in the break and quickly got four set points in his hands.
Alcaraz saved the first with an aggressive return and the other with an ace. A spot-on drop shot saw the Spaniard save a third set point to narrow his deficit to 5-6, but Djokovic closed the set with his fourth chance after 62 minutes of play.
The players were neck and neck in the second set until Alcaraz upped the ante in game 12, winning key battles at the net and using his drop shot perfectly when needed.
The Murcian native claimed a break and the set with a sensational get, running over a Djokovic dropper and hitting an outside doubles winner.
Djokovic cuts hand
Djokovic held off three break points on his serve in game four from the decider, digging deep for a 2-2 hold.
The world number one fell to the ground during the next match and required medical attention for an open wound on his right hand. Two more breakpoints came and went for Alcaraz on his opponent’s serve, while Djokovic battled to hold on 3-3.
It was Djokovic’s turn to put pressure on Alcaraz’s serve, but the seventh seed successfully circumvented a break point to hold onto game seven.
The crowd went wild when Alcaraz shot a forehand winner in the head to take his first match point. Djokovic responded with a steel ace and dug deep to the level for 5-5.
It all came down to a tiebreak in the final set and the Caja Magica was shaking with “si se puede” (Yes you can) chants. Alcaraz drew first blood and took a 4-2 lead.
Djokovic saved a second match point for 5-6, but Alcaraz got lucky the third time, claiming a three hour 35 minute win with yet another forehand winner – his 35th of the match.
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