7th May, 2022
Carlos Alcaraz stunned World No. 1 Novak Djokovic at the Mutua Madrid Open on Saturday afternoon, knocking him out in three sets in the first semi-final of the tournament.
The 19 year-old Spanish star prevailed over Djokovic 6-7(5), 7-5, 7-6(5), making it the second consecutive victories over ATP Tour legends.
On Friday, Alcaraz defeated Rafael Nadal in the quarter-finals in spectacular style on Manolo Santana Stadium.
On Saturday, he recovered from the disappointment of losing a first-set tie-break to complete the biggest win of his career by beating Djokovic.
Alcaraz’s outstanding 2022 season has seen the Spaniard win a maiden Masters 1000 title in Miami and break the Top 10 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings for the first time.
Defeating Nadal and Djokovic back-to-back in Madrid extends his winning streak over Top 10 opponents to six.
This doubtless was another indication that the 19-year-old possesses the level to consistently match the very best on Tour.
As he did against Rafael Nadal in Friday’s quarter-finals, Alcaraz made a fast start at the Caja Magica.
He pinned Djokovic to the back of the court with a barrage of bruising forehands and found an angled backhand pass to break in the opening game to the delight of his passionate home support.
Djokovic’s response was emphatic. From 40/15 in the third game, Djokovic won 21 successive points on serve and reclaimed the break in the eighth game.
He carried that momentum into the first-set tie-break, opening up a 5/1 lead that proved unassailable.
An intriguing second set that featured few long rallies also seemed destined for a tie-break before Alcaraz produced a sublime return game at 6-5 to break and force a decider.
The Spaniard’s drop shot grew increasingly effective as he frequently drew Djokovic forward, a tactic that drew Alcaraz level as he angled a perfectly placed winner past the Serb on set point.
Alcaraz continued to look the more dangerous player into the deciding set, with Djokovic fending off break points breaks in three of his service games.
The Spaniard let a match point slip at 5-5 as Djokovic’s trusty delivery continued to fire at big moments, but Alcaraz was not to be denied in the tie-break as he held firm for a marathon three-hour, 35-minute win.
The semi-final victory takes Alcaraz within one win of a second Masters 1000 crown of the year.
He will face fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas or defending champion Alexander Zverev in Sunday’s championship match.
*Match Report by ATP Tour