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After topping Nadal, teen Alcaraz downs Djokovic to reach Madrid final


Carlos Alcaraz Madrid Open

Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz celebrates after winning against Serbia’s Novak Djokovic during their 2022 ATP Tour Madrid Open tennis tournament men’s singles semi-final match at the Caja Magica in Madrid on May 7, 2022. (Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS / AFP)

A magical season for teenager Carlos Alcaraz continued Saturday as he defeated World No. 1 Novak Djokovic 6-7 (5), 7-5, 7-6 (5) in the semifinals of the Mutua Madrid Open.

The 19-year-old Spaniard toppled another legend, Rafael Nadal, on Friday in the quarterfinals to advance to the semifinals of the Masters 1000 event against the top-seeded Djokovic.

He will meet second-seeded Alexander Zverev of Germany in Sunday’s final.

Alcaraz, the seventh seed, needed three hours, 35 minutes to beat Djokovic of Serbia.

“I don’t know what the difference was,” Alcaraz said. “It was so close. He had the chances to break my serve at the end of the second set. In the first set as well it was so close in the tie-break. Honestly I don’t know what made the difference.”

Alcaraz, with the wins over Nadal and Djokovic, now has six straight victories over opponents ranked in the Top 10. He won his first Masters 1000 title in Miami and has three wins this season.

Saturday’s match was his first meeting against Djokovic. He had 51 winners compared to 24 for Djokovic.

“This gives me a lot of confidence to play the final tomorrow,” Alcaraz said of the win. “I know that I played a really good game, and for the rest of the season I think I am able to play against the best players in the world and beat them as well, so it gives me a lot of confidence.”

Alcaraz rose to 27-3 on the season and became the first player ever to defeat both Nadal and Djokovic at the same event on clay courts.

Zverev defeated fourth-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 in one hour, 53 minutes.

“I thought from yesterday onwards I started to play really well,” said Zverev. “I’m just extremely happy to be in the final here. I know it’s going to be an extremely tough match tomorrow but I hope I can manage to play my best and give myself a chance.”

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