Saturday, July 13, 2024

Alcaraz vs Djokovic: The Rivalry | ATP Tour

World No. 1 Novak Djokovic and World No. 2 Carlos Alcaraz will meet on Saturday in a tantalising semi-final showdown on the Nitto ATP Finals. Since their first conflict on the 2022 Mutua Madrid Open, the celebrities have proven their video games and combating spirits make for memorable matchups.

Earlier than their Turin battle, seems again in any respect 4 of their earlier Lexus ATP Head2Head conferences.

Madrid 2022, SF, Alcaraz d. Djokovic 6-7(5), 7-5, 7-6(5)
The 2022 Mutua Madrid Open was the place Alcaraz confirmed he was greater than only a gifted participant on the rise. After a memorable win in opposition to countryman Rafael Nadal within the quarter-finals, his match didn’t get any simpler in opposition to prime seed Djokovic.

Within the pair’s first Lexus ATP Head2Head encounter, Djokovic acquired a full style of what Alcaraz is able to. The house favorite introduced a collection of energy and finesse to the Caja Magica.

Alcaraz hit 51 winners in comparison with 24 for Djokovic, and despatched the Serbian scrambling with loads of drop photographs. When it got here time to seal the match, the teenager did it in model with a booming forehand winner to upset the World No. 1 after three hours and 36 minutes and turn out to be the primary participant to beat Nadal and Djokovic on the identical clay-court match.

“I do know that I performed a extremely good recreation,” Alcaraz mentioned. “For the remainder of the season I feel I’m able to play in opposition to the perfect gamers on the earth and beat them as properly, so it offers me a whole lot of confidence.”

<a href=Carlos Alcaraz” />
Picture: Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour
Roland Garros 2023, SF, Djokovic d. Alcaraz 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1
When the 2023 Roland Garros draw got here out, all eyes had been on the potential of a semi-final blockbuster between Djokovic and Alcaraz. After their scintillating conflict in Madrid, would Alcaraz be capable of replicate his stage in opposition to the World No. 1 throughout 5 units?

Djokovic appeared in command early, however Alcaraz labored arduous to win the second set and when he did, a traditional appeared within the works. However as an alternative, the Spaniard started affected by cramp early within the third set and was by no means capable of bodily get better.

Djokovic was left to shine off an ailing Alcaraz and he did so with out concern, ending their first assembly at a serious with out stress.

“I instructed him on the internet. He is aware of how younger he’s. He’s obtained loads of time forward of him, so he’s going to win this match I’m certain many many occasions,” Djokovic mentioned. “He’s an unbelievable participant, an unimaginable competitor and a really good man, so he deserves all of the applause and all of the help.”

Alcaraz was open about his emotions after the loss to the eventual champion. He mentioned: “I’m dissatisfied in myself actually, and in a match like this, coming to this match with nice emotions, feeling nice bodily, and cramping on the finish of the second set, starting of the third set, it was actually disappointing. However these type of issues occur, and I’ve to take care of that.”

Caros Alcaraz/<a href=Novak Djokovic” />
Picture: Getty Pictures
Wimbledon 2023, F, Alcaraz d. Djokovic 1-6, 7-6(6), 6-1, 3-6, 6-4
Alcaraz didn’t want to attend lengthy to take his shot at revenge in opposition to Djokovic. However coming into the Wimbledon last, all eyes had been on the Serbian’s chase for historical past. Simply two years after coming inside one match of successful the Grand Slam (capturing all 4 majors in the identical season), Djokovic was once more in good place, having triumphed on the Australian Open, Roland Garros, and being again within the Wimbledon last.

After the pair’s semi-final in Paris, Djokovic was the agency favorite at SW19. Not solely had he demonstrated he was up for his youthful rival’s problem, however he was a seven-time Wimbledon champion, whereas Alcaraz had performed simply two grass-court tournaments in his profession earlier than 2023.

When the 23-time main winner stormed by means of the opening set, he appeared properly on his strategy to extending his successful streak on the occasion to 35. Djokovic earned set level at 6/5 within the second-set tie-break however missed a impartial backhand into the web, altering the course of the match and historical past.

Alcaraz sprang to life, ultimately successful a four-hour, 42-minute battle to earn his second main title.

“It’s a dream come true for me,” Alcaraz mentioned. “As I mentioned earlier than, after all it’s nice to win, however even when I had misplaced, I might be actually happy with myself with this superb run. Making historical past on this lovely match, enjoying a last in opposition to a legend of our sport.”

Cincinnati 2023, F, Djokovic d. Alcaraz 5-7, 7-6(7), 7-6(4)
Contemporary off a traditional Wimbledon last, followers had been as soon as once more in for a deal with within the last of the Western & Southern Open, the pair’s first match on arduous courtroom.

Only a few months after Alcaraz was bodily out of kinds at Roland Garros, it was Djokovic who didn’t seem like himself within the Cincinnati last. Alcaraz firmly managed the match up a set and a break as he seemed to dial up his cost for ATP Yr-Finish No. 1 introduced by Pepperstone.

Had Alcaraz put collectively two service holds from 4-3 within the second set, the match may need been forgettable. However as an alternative, he gave his opponent a gap and Djokovic turned their conflict right into a traditional. He saved championship level at 5/6 within the second-set tie-break to pressure an exhilarating decider.

Each males raised their ranges and Alcaraz confirmed resolve of his personal to interrupt again when Djokovic served for the championship within the third set. In the end it was the 36-year-old who emerged victorious after three hours and 49 minutes, the longest best-of-three last in ATP Tour historical past (since 1990).

“Simply total, one of many hardest and most enjoyable matches I used to be ever a part of and these are the sorts of moments and matches that I proceed to work for day in day trip,” Djokovic mentioned. “I used to be by no means unsure that I can ship the ‘A’ recreation when it mattered probably the most and [I am] simply thrilled.”

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