Novak Djokovic closed his campaign at the Madrid Masters in the semifinal against a Carlos Alcaraz in top form. The local star knocked out Rafael Nadal on the previous day, and repeated against another legend to advance to the second final of the Masters 1000.
Carlos and Novak played their first duel, and the Spaniard won 6-7, 7-5, 7-6 in three hours and 35 minutes. The Spaniard survived all challenges in sets two and three to stay in touch after receiving a single break. Alcaraz converted two of the ten chances he had available and prevailed with a better performance in the decisive tie break.
Speaking of that match ahead of Rome, Novak said that he felt 100% physically in Madrid, which is positive for Rome and Paris. Djokovic had his chances in the second set, blowing break chances in games nine and 11 and allowing Alcaraz to get a late break at 6-5 and force the tie break.
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 great opportunity to create three break chances at 4-4.
A routine right hand missed, and Alcaraz kept the 30 to stay on the positive side. The Serb denied a match point in the tenth game with a powerful serve and closed the result at 5-5 after four deuces. Both players served well in games 11 and 12 to set up a decisive tie break, the best way to determine the winner of a titanic battle.
Djokovic is a great champion
Novak Djokovic is gearing up to play his first Grand Slam of the year in Paris after missing out on the Australian Open. "Well, I think the tennis fans and the biggest tournaments in sport always want to have the best players in the world participating.
I think from that point of view there is significance to that," he said. "Grand Slams are the ones that are historically always counted the most, of course. So having both of us and all the other best players in the world is great.
Probably Roger is the only one from the big names that is missing," he said. "It's always a big blow for the tournament if you don't have one of the biggest names in the sport, but it's always beneficial if you do. I guess it's logical," he added.