Alicia Molik places Carlos Alcaraz ahead of Novak Djokovic

Alicia Molik picked her three favorites for the Australian Open title

by Jovica Ilic
Alicia Molik places Carlos Alcaraz ahead of Novak Djokovic
© Cameron Spencer / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Former Australian star Alicia Molik made a safe bet when asked about the Australian Open favorites. Alicia picked Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner as three contenders for the trophy. Molik placed Carlos above Novak and Jannik, liking his style and backing the Spaniard to go all the way and secure his third Major title in Melbourne.

Alcaraz missed last year's Australian Open due to an injury, heading to Melbourne eager to show his best tennis at the beginning of 2024. The 20-year-old reached his first Australian Open quarter-final following a 6-4, 6-4, 6-0 victory over Miomir Kecmanovic in an hour and 49 minutes at Rod Laver Arena.

Alcaraz has now reached the quarter-final at all four Majors, becoming the fourth-youngest player to achieve that. Carlos served well against Miomir, losing 16 points in his games and facing no break points. The Serb felt the pressure and could not endure it, losing serve once in sets one and two each and fading from the court in the third, ending his campaign in the last 16.

Carlos Alcaraz, Australian Open 2024© Cameron Spencer / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Alcaraz felt the ball nicely, hitting 43 winners and 19 unforced errors and forging the advantage in the shortest and more advanced exchanges.

Carlos found the rhythm early on, landing 18 winners in the opener and keeping everything under control in his games. The Spaniard defended superbly in the encounter's third game, breaking the Serb after a lucky net cord winner for an early advantage.

World no. 2 cracked a backhand winner in game four, producing a fine hold and cementing the lead. Kecmanovic held after deuce in game five and faced more issues at 2-4 after Alcaraz's forehand down the line winner. Carlos netted a routine forehand, allowing Miomir to bring the game home and remain within one break deficit.

Alcaraz forced the rival's mistake in game eight for 5-3 and fired an ace at 5-4 to wrap up the opener in 38 minutes. Nothing changed in the second set, with Carlos serving well and building the advantage with a single break.

Alicia Molik would love to see Carlos Alcaraz win the Australian Open.

The Spaniard held at love with a volley winner for 2-2, and the Serb followed that pace in game five to stay in touch. World no. 2 produced another hold at love in game six and pushed strong on the return in the next one.

The Spaniard cracked a backhand crosscourt winner for a break and a 4-3 advantage, cementing it with a service winner in the next one. Carlos landed a volley winner at the net on the return at 5-3, creating a set point. Miomir denied it with a fine attack and held to prolong the set.

Alcaraz served for the set at 5-4 and held at 30, forging two sets to love lead after an hour and 21 minutes. Eager to cross the finish line, Carlos fired 11 winners in the third set and lost three points in his games, mounting the pressure on the other side.

Kecmanovic faded from the court, losing serve three times and experiencing a bagel en route to the exit door.

Carlos Alcaraz, Australian Open 2024© Cameron Spencer / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Alcaraz broke his rival at 30 in the first game and closed the second at love with a service winner for 2-0.

The Spaniard seized the third break chance in the third game with a cracking forehand crosscourt winner, extending the lead and his streak. The 20-year-old clinched the fourth game at 15 with a service winner and earned a break chance in the next one with a forehand down the line winner.

World no. 2 painted a backhand down the line winner to secure another break and serve for the victory at 5-0. Carlos fired a service winner on a match point, delivering a bagel and booking a place in the last eight. "Carlos is a great role model, always playing with a smile and never throwing his racquet.

He is my favorite for the Australian Open title. However, Melbourne Park is Novak Djokovic's court; he can not lose here. Jannik Sinner is the third title contender," Alicia Molik said.

Carlos Alcaraz Novak Djokovic Australian Open