At 19, he has already entered the history of modern tennis. Carlos Alcaraz achieved an exceptional performance on Saturday in the semi-final of the Masters 1000 in Madrid by overthrowing the world number 1 after an epic match (6-7, 7-5, 7-6) and 3h35 of tennis delight. He thus becomes the first player to beat Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in the same tournament on clay, which is moreover on two days in a row.
The youngest player to afford a circuit boss since Nadal against Roger Federer in the 2005 Roland-Garros semi-final, he will play the final against the winner of the second half between Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas.
This time it’s the right one: Alcaraz offers himself the scalp of his idol Nadal
YESTERDAY AT 4:42 PM
“Si se puede, si se puede” (“yes, it’s possible” in French), or even “Carlos, Carlos”: these were the songs that accompanied the new phenomenon of world tennis on the road to his exploit this Saturday afternoon. Charismatic as hell, boosted, inhabited by his tennis, Carlos Alcaraz went to the end of his mission in total communion with the spectators of the Manolo Santana court of the Caja Magica. It never stops growing and upsets the established order more than ever.
A crazy set point: how Alcaraz came back in the match against Djokovic
Audacity, audacity, and more audacity
Because if until the end this shock was undecided, the victory of the Spanish challenger against the world number 1 is more than deserved. Like the match point – an untouchable forehand shift and his 51st winning shot (against 24 for Djokovic) – Alcaraz went to provoke his destiny until the end. And the craziest part of all this is that the kid was not on his cloud: he also committed 57 unforced errors (against 31) and in no way overplayed.
Explosive, spectacular, seeking to hurt on the slightest short ball, the Murcian still amazed by his ability to keep his game plan from start to finish, despite the vagaries of the game which could have affected him. Starting with a bang and with a break in advance (2-0), he saw Djokovic catch up before hitting the post in the tie-break of the first set (6-7). At first hesitant in his first strikes, the world number 1 gradually found his cruising speed, especially on the service: he chained four shutouts and 21 points in a row on his commitments before turning in the lead.
An insane point, a cry of rage: Djokovic’s 1st set ball against Alcaraz
And yet, Djokovic was in “survival” mode
Logically frustrated by his inability to raise, Alcaraz then questioned himself, rushing less and varying more. His drop shots, perfectly masked (including one to save a break point at 5-5) for the most part, instilled a hint of doubt in Djokovic’s mind. Always as aggressive and able to ignite the public at any time, the Spaniard ended up splitting the opposing shell, resetting the counters with a drop along the exquisite line after a crazy race (6-7, 7 -5).
From then on, Alcaraz led the dance. But he could not convert any of his 6 break points in the final act. The fault of a Djokovic found both mentally and physically. Many would have been frustrated, but Alcaraz never let go. Until this final forehand winner, the boss was him. And its limits seem more difficult than ever to define.
Djokovic will be there and awaits Alcaraz
YESTERDAY AT 1:34 PM
Alcaraz, a golden opportunity to seize? “Rafa has a thousand lives”
YESTERDAY AT 11:47 PM