Novak Djokovic spoke extremely highly of Carlos Alcaraz at the French Open and jokingly noted the 20-year-old Spaniard reminds him of Rafael Nadal. On Tuesday, Djokovic recovered from a set down to beat Karen Khachanov 4-6 7-6 (0) 6-2 6-4 in the French Open quarterfinal By beating Khachanov, Djokovic sealed a French Open semifinal meeting against either Alcaraz or Stefanos Tsitsipas - the Spaniard ended up beating the Greek and setting up a Djokovic meeting.
After beating Khachanov, Djokovic was asked about the possibility of playing Alcaraz. "He carries himself very well, nice guy. Brings a lot of intensity to the court, reminds me of someone from his country (laughing). We played only once, 7-6 in the third for him.
If it comes to it, that would be the biggest challenge, he is the guy to beat," Djokovic said of Alcaraz, via Sasa Ozmo.
#Djokovic on Alcaraz: He carries himself very well, nice guy. Brings a lot of intensity to the court, reminds me of someone from his country (laughing).
We played only once, 7-6 in the third for him… If it comes to it, that would be the biggest challenge, he is the guy to beat. — Saša Ozmo (@ozmo_sasa) June 6, 2023
Djokovic survived the Khachanov test
Khachanov didn't face a single break point in the first two sets but Djokovic managed to win the second-set tie-break and tie the match to one set apiece.
The second-set tie-break proved to be the turning point as Djokovic dominated the rest of the match to complete a four-set win. After the match, Djokovic admitted that Khachanov was the better player at the start of the match and that he was happy about overcoming a big challenge.
“I think he was the better player for most of the [first] two sets. I was struggling to find my rhythm. I made a lot of unforced errors and came into the match quite slow, quite sluggish. But I played the perfect [second-set] tie-break, really, and from that moment I played a couple of levels higher than I did at the beginning.
[There was] a little bit of a scare towards the end of the fourth set, but I managed to win eight points in a row to finish it off. It’s a big fight. It’s something that you expect in the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam.
You’re not going to have your victories handed over to you. You’ve got to earn them, so I’m just glad to overcome the big challenge of today," Djokovic said in his on-court interview.
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