Rafael Nadal one day. Novak Djokovic next.
The list of victims of the Spanish teenager Carlos Alcaraz continues to grow.
- 19-year-old Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz has become the youngest player to reach a final at the Madrid Open, beating world number one Novak Djokovic to get there.
- The win followed Alcaraz’s win over Spanish clay court maestro Rafael Nadal in the quarterfinals.
- Alcaraz has already won in Rio de Janeiro, Miami and Barcelona this year
And so does the hype about the new tennis sensation.
After defeating his idol Nadal in the quarterfinals on Friday (local time), the 19-year-old Alcaraz came from behind to beat top-ranked Djokovic 6-7 (7/5), 7-5, 7-6 (7/ 5) after more than three and a half hours on Saturday to reach the final of the Madrid Open.
“It was one of those games to enjoy,” Alcaraz said.
Alcaraz converted on his third match point to clinch the win, his 27th of the year, in front of a raucous home crowd on the Caja Magica center court.
“Playing against the number one player in the world, in front of this crowd here in Madrid, it’s unbelievable,” he said.
A win on Sunday will give Alcaraz his fourth title this season, the most of any player. He has already recorded tournament victories in Rio de Janeiro, Miami and Barcelona.
He will face defending champion Alexander Zverev or Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Alcaraz, the youngest player in the top 10 since Nadal in 2005, has won this year in Miami, Rio de Janeiro and Barcelona.
He beat Nadal for the first time on Friday and triumphed against Djokovic in his first match.
Djokovic remains without a title this season as he continues to try to get back to his best form heading into his title defense at the French Open this month.
Alcaraz, the youngest to reach the Madrid semifinals, took an early lead in the first set, but Djokovic rallied back.
The Spaniard took the second set after Djokovic squandered three break chances to serve for the match, and he kept the pressure going throughout the third until he finally capitalized on one of his many chances in the tiebreak.
The match winner was one of Alcaraz’s 30-plus forehands that kept Djokovic on the defensive at all times. Alcaraz had 51 winners to Djokovic’s 24.
“It was so close,” Alcaraz said. “He had a chance to break my serve at the end of the second set. In the first set he was very close in the tiebreak as well. Honestly, I don’t know what made the difference.”
Djokovic praised Alcaraz after arriving in Madrid this week, saying his son had already replaced Nadal with the young Spaniard as his favorite player.