Madrid – Rafael Nadal one day. Novak Djokovic next one.
List of the victims of the Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz continuous increase.
So is the hype about the latest buzz in tennis.
After defeating his idol Nadal in the quarter-finals on Friday, 19-year-old Alcaraz defeated Djokovic 6-7 (5), 7-5, 7-6 (5) after over 3 1/2 hours on Saturday. Reach the Madrid Open final.
“It was one of those games to enjoy,” Alcaraz said. “Despite the tension, despite going into the semi-finals, I was 7-6 in the third set of the tiebreak…I enjoyed it. Until the last point I was able to smile.”
Alcaraz became the first player to beat Nadal and Djokovic in the same clay court event. He converted his third point of the match in front of a raucous crowd at Caja Mágica Central Stadium.
“It feels great now,” Alcaraz said. “I’m very excited to be able to play this kind of match, to be able to beat Rafa yesterday, to be able to beat the top seed today.”
Sunday’s win would give Alcaraz their fourth title of the season, more than any player.
He will face the title holder Alexander Zverevwho defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-4, 3-6, 6-2. The second-seeded German turned three of his five break chances to claim victory in nearly two hours in the match, which ended just after 1 a.m. local time.
Zverev is now 19-2 in Madrid, where he also won the title in 2018.
“This is my favorite stadium in the world,” Zverev said. “This is Caja Mágica and it’s great for me because I was in this tournament and I played really badly. I wasn’t too sure I didn’t win many matches this year but this stadium brought something out of me.”
Fourth seed Tsitsipas beat Zverev in the Monte Carlo semi-finals earlier this year.
Alcaraz lost both games against Zverev last year on hard courts.
“I know 99.999% of people will be against me tomorrow,” he said with a smile, “but that’s totally fine.” “I’m still grateful to have you here at 1:10 am. It’s going to be a fun match tomorrow.”
Zverev returned to the empty midfield after the match to practice his service.
Alcaraz, the youngest player in the top 10 since Nadal in 2005, won this year in Miami, Rio de Janeiro and Barcelona.
Djokovic is still without a title this season as he continues to try to regain his best form in defense of his title at the French Open this month.
“Congratulations to him,” Djokovic said. “For someone his age to play with such maturity and courage is admirable. He deserved to win.”
Alcaraz, the youngest ever to reach the Madrid semi-finals, took the first set but Djokovic recovered.
The Spaniard took the second set after Djokovic missed three break points for the match, and kept pressing through the third until he finally took advantage of one of his many tiebreakers.
The match winner came is one of more than 30 forehands won by Alcars that kept Djokovic on the defensive throughout. Alcaraz scored 51 wins against Djokovic’s 24.
“It was very close,” Alcaraz said. “He had break chances at the end of the second set. In the first set also he was very close in the tiebreak. I honestly don’t know what made the difference.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
“Alcohol enthusiast. Twitter ninja. Tv lover. Falls down a lot. Hipster-friendly coffee geek.”