Carlos Alcaraz took another hit on the Madrid Masters 1000. This Friday she had left on the way to Rafael Nadal and now he brought out the serb Novak Djokovic, number 1 in the world. The recently turned 19-year-old Spanish tennis player, who will surely appear sixth in the ATP ranking on Monday, is presented as the future dominator of the ATP circuit. He was a vibrant 6-7 (5), 7-5 and 7-6 (5) in a Manolo Santana stadium of the Caja Mágica in the Spanish capital that surrendered at the feet of this young prodigy.
The phenomenon of Murcia started with everything in the game and managed to break Nole’s serve in the first chapter. But the Serb showed his resilience intact, regained serve and ended up prevailing in the tie-breakerin which later, after failing three times, he closed the story 7-6 (5).
In the second chapter, far from being discouraged, Alcaraz went to look for what had escaped him in the first set. It cost him, but he was finally able to break Djokovic. He won it 7-5 and stretched the suspense in a high voltage game.
The definition extended to the third set, where no one could take advantage in very long games. However, with 3h12 of action, Alcaraz had a match point in the tenth game. Nole saved him with an ace. The Serbian needed 10 minutes and five advantages to stretch the suspense in the Caja Mágica.
The definition came in another tie-breaker in which Carlitos achieved a mini-break from the start. However, Djokovic got it back with a deep return. But he immediately missed a ball. He couldn’t close it out on the second match point of the afternoon, with the Serb serving. But in the third he finished it off. And, with a Magic Box that entered a state of trance, he achieved a resounding victory in his first match on the ATP circuit against the Belgrade crack.
“I congratulate him, he put up with his nerves very well. For someone his age to play with such maturity and courage is impressive. He deserved to win,” said the world number one at the press conference after the match.
Nole did not hide his anger, but made it clear that the game helps him to continue his progression on the way to Roland Garros. “I played a very good tennis, the best I have played this year. Probably when the disappointment of losing this match passes, I will have many positive aspects to take from this week,” added the Serbian tennis player.
Alcaraz, who in 2021 won the ATP 250 in Umag, in Croatia; and the Next Gen ATP Finals tournament, in the Italian city of Milan, has had a dream 2022, with 27 wins and only three losses, results that have earned him the title of champion at the Masters 1,000 in Miami, in the United States; and at the ATP 500 in Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil; and Barcelona.
He will define the title, he is going for the sixth of his career, this Sunday against the winner of the other semifinal in which they will face Stefanos Tsitsipas and the defending champion, alexander zverev. Tsitsipas (seeded 4) defeated Andrey Rublev 6-3, 2-6, 6-4, while Zverev (seeded 2) defeated Felix Auger-Aliassime 6-3, 7-5.
The background of Nalbandian
The last tennis player who had been able to beat Nadal and Djokovic consecutively had been the Cordovan david nalbandian. The king Davidin the year 2007, marked a feat since he not only played against both, but eliminated the entire Big 3 in a single tournament. Precisely at the Madrid Open that year, the Cordovan, who beat Juan Martín del Potro in the round of 16, met Rafa Nadal, the top Grand Slam winner, in the quarterfinals, and beat him 6-2, 6-1. Although on that occasion, the contest was played on fast courts and not on clay, as it is today.
In the semifinals it was Novak’s turn, and the Argentine eliminated him again in straight sets (6-4 and 7-6) to face in the grand final against the number one in the world at that time, Roger Federer. Despite the good start of the Swiss, the final score and the title went to the man born in Unquillo 1-6, 6-3 and 6-3 to remain in history as the only one to beat the trinomial in the same tournament.
In a clash of generations, Alcaraz overcame injury on Friday to defeat by 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 his idol and compatriot Nadal in the quarterfinals of the Madrid Open.
Alcaraz, 19, recovered from a sprained ankle early in the second set to notch his first victory against the 21-time Grand Slam champion, which could be the beginning of a changing of the guard in Spanish tennis.
“I congratulate Alcaraz. Relay obviously it is, one is 19 and the other almost 36 years old, it is a relay“, Nadal said. “If it is from today or not, we will see it over the months. I am happy for him, he has been better than me in various facets of the game. I need to improve as I have been speaking these days. It is nothing that did not enter into logic and is accepted”.
The young man, considered by many in Spain as Nadal’s successor, will clash in the semifinals against the number one in the world, Novak Djokovicwho for his part won 6-3, 6-4 to Hubert Hurkacz.
Three-time Madrid champion Djokovic had little trouble against Hurkacz. The Serb took advantage of a slow start from Hurkacz and took a 3-0 lead when the Pole gave up his first service game with a long shot.
Another series of unforced errors cost Hurkacz a break in the second set as he sent a forehand shot wide. Djokovic’s dominance never ended and he finished on his fourth match point.
Djokovic beat Gael Monfils in straight sets to start his campaign at the clay-court and outdoor tournament, and a retirement after Andy Murray withdrew due to stomach illness before Thursday’s match.