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5 Jul 2022 12:04
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Tennis

    Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz reaches Madrid Open final, with three-set win over Novak Djokovic

    The hype is growing over Spanish teenage sensation Carlos Alcaraz, who backs up his win over Rafael Nadal on the red clay in Madrid with a three-set victory over Novak Djokovic to reach the final.


    Rafael Nadal one day. Novak Djokovic the next.

    The list of victims of Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz keeps growing.

    And so does the hype over tennis's newest sensation.

    After defeating his idol Nadal in the quarter-finals on Friday (local time), the 19-year-old Alcaraz rallied to beat top-ranked Djokovic 6-7 (7/5), 7-5, 7-6 (7/5) after more than three and a half hours on Saturday to reach the Madrid Open final.

    "It was one of those matches to enjoy," Alcaraz said.

    "Despite the tension, despite being the semi-finals of a Masters 1000, being 7-6 in the third-set tiebreaker … I've enjoyed it. Until the last point I was being able to smile."

    Alcaraz converted on his third match point to clinch the victory — his 27th of the year — in front of a raucous home crowd on the Caja Mágica centre court.

    "To play against the number one player in the world, in front of this crowd here in Madrid, it's incredible," he said.

    A win on Sunday will give Alcaraz his fourth title this season, the most of any player. He has already registered tournament victories at Rio De Janeiro, Miami and Barcelona. 

    He will face defending champion Alexander Zverev or Stefanos Tsitsipas.

    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, and triumphed against Djokovic in their first match.

    Djokovic remains without a title this season as he continues to try to regain his best form going into his title defence at the French Open this month.

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

    The Spaniard took the second set after Djokovic wasted three break opportunities to serve for the match, and kept the pressure on during the third until finally capitalising on one of his many chances in the tie-breaker.

    The match winner came was one of Alcaraz's more than 30 forehand winners that kept Djokovic on the defensive throughout. Alcaraz had 51 winners to Djokovic's 24.

    "It was so close," Alcaraz said. "He had the chances to break my serve at the end of the second set. In the first set as well it was so close in the tie-break. Honestly I don't know what made the difference."

    Djokovic praised Alcaraz after arriving in Madrid this week, and said his son had already replaced Nadal with the young Spaniard as his favourite player.

    AP/ABC

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    © 2022 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved

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