What connects Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz and Mario Ancic?

Carlos Alcaraz defeated Novak Djokovic in five sets in the Wimbledon final

by Jovica Ilic
What connects Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz and Mario Ancic?

Novak Djokovic has played 103 matches at Wimbledon since debuting in 2005. Only 12 of those matches went into a decider, and Novak is 10-2 in the Wimbledon five-setters. Djokovic came from two sets to love down three times, including the last year's duel against Jannik Sinner.

Novak's two losses came in 2006 versus Mario Ancic and in Sunday's title clash against Carlos Alcaraz. Thus, Ancic and Alcaraz are the only players with a five-setter triumph over Djokovic at The All England Club, separated by 17 years.

Djokovic and Ancic met in the 2006 fourth round, and the Croat prevailed 6-4, 4-6, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3 after three hours and 24 minutes. Mario claimed six points more than Novak and blasted 31 aces to overpower the youngster. The Croat faces only three break chances in the entire match.

He got broken once in sets two and three to hand them to the Serb. Still, Mario stole Novak's serve once in sets four and five to cross the finish line and advance into the next round.

Novak Djokovic experienced his second Wimbledon five-setter loss.

Sixteen years later, the 20-year-old Carlos Alcaraz overpowered Djokovic in the title clash, prevailing 1-6, 7-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 in four hours and 42 minutes for his second Major crown.

Carlos seized five break points from 14 chances and lost serve five times to keep Novak in contention in a memorable final. The defending champion made a convincing start and claimed the opener 6-1 in 34 minutes. Carlos raised his level in the second set and stayed neck and neck with Novak until the tie break.

Djokovic squandered a set point in the second set's tie break and lost it 8-6 after Alcaraz's backhand return winner, experiencing his first failure in the tie breaks at Majors after winning 15 in a row! The Serb lost the ground in the third set, spraying almost 20 unforced errors and getting broken three times, the same number as in the previous six rounds combined!

The fifth game secured a place in Wimbledon history, with 32 points and 27 minutes of a grueling battle! They embraced 13 deuces, numerous game points for Novak and seven break chances for the young gun! Carlos seized the last when Novak netted a forehand to earn an enormous boost and steal the veteran's energy.

The Spaniard held at 15 in the sixth game and closed the set with another break a few minutes later for a massive advantage ahead of set number four. Novak took an extended break and defended two break points in the second game to end his downfall.

The Serb grabbed breaks in games five and nine to wrap up the set 6-3 and force a decider, ready to give his everything and keep his great score in Wimbledon five-setters. They missed a break point in games one and two of the final set, and Carlos delivered a break in game three with a backhand down the line winner.

Alcaraz served for the title at 5-4 and held at 30 after forcing Djokovic's error to lift his second Major trophy at 20.

Novak Djokovic Carlos Alcaraz Mario Ancic