Novak Djokovic ended his Madrid Masters campaign in the semi-final against an in-form Carlos Alcaraz. The home star toppled Rafael Nadal on the previous day, and he repeated that against another legend to advance into the second Masters 1000 final.
Carlos and Novak played their first duel, and the Spaniard prevailed 6-7, 7-5, 7-6 in three hours and 35 minutes! The Spaniard survived all the challenges in sets two and three to stay in touch after getting broken only once.
Alcaraz converted two out of ten opportunities and emerged at the top with a better performance in the deciding tie break. Speaking about that match ahead of Rome, Novak said he felt at 100% physically in Madrid, which is positive ahead of Rome and Paris.
Djokovic had his chances in set number two, missing break opportunities in games nine and 11 and allowing Alcaraz to grab a late break at 6-5 and force a decider.
Novak Djokovic lost a tight clash to Carlos Alcaraz in over three and a half hours.
Novak fended off three break points at 1-2 and two more at 2-3 to extend his chances.
Carlos fended off a break chance in game seven with a service winner, and Novak had a massive opportunity to create three break chances at 4-4. He missed a routine forehand, and Alcaraz held at 30 to remain on the positive side.
The Serb denied a match point in game ten with a powerful serve and locked the result at 5-5 after four deuces. Both players served well in games 11 and 12 to set a deciding tie break, the best way to determine the winner of a titanic battle.
The Spaniard pulled the trigger to open a 4-2 gap, and the Serb claimed the next one with a service winner to stay in touch. Carlos opened a 5-3 lead with a good serve, and Novak stayed in contention with a deep return. Djokovic sprayed a forehand mistake at 4-5 to face two match points and saved the first with a service winner.
Carlos stayed calm and seized the second with a forehand down the line winner to celebrate an epic victory! "I felt at 100% physically in Madrid, even after the semi-final that lasted three and a half hours. I was not much tired after the encounter, and I'm ready for new challenges in Rome.
MY physical level worried me a bit ahead of the clay swing, but things are going fine at the moment. I'm improving my game every week, and I know I can play better. I'm pleased with my Madrid campaign, as I played on a decent level.
I lost to an eventual champion, and one shot separated Carlos and me. I could have beaten him, but I have to look forward; I'm motivated to chase a good result in Rome. I had a clean forehand at 30-0 at 4-4 in the third set and a couple of break chances in the closing stages of the second, when I could have broken his resistance.
Still, it's tennis, and it happens; you win some and lose some. I have to give credit to Carlos; he is very young, but he is already very mature and composed. He is impressive," Novak Djokovic said.