Carlos Alcaraz channels Real Madrid spirit to defeat Novak Djokovic in epic Madrid Open



Carlos Alcaraz’s affection for Real Madrid is so strong that even the Spanish teenage sensation’s tennis matches mirror those of his beloved football club.

Just 24 hours after beating compatriot Rafael Nadal, the 19-year-old fought back to beat world number one Novak Djokovic in a sensational three-and-a-half-hour classic on Saturday to reach the Madrid Open final.

Emboldened by a delighted home crowd at the Manolo Santana Stadium, a 6-7(5) 7-5 7-6(5) win over the Serbian saw Alcaraz become the first player in history to beat Nadal and Djokovic in the of a return match. return matches on clay.

Turning just 19 on Thursday, Alcaraz won the match against the 20-time Grand Slam winner from the start, a spectacular series of soft shots helping the world No. 9 win the second set after losing the first on a tiebreaker.

And just as Real Madrid did in spectacular fashion against Manchester City in the Champions League last week, the Spaniard made a stunning comeback, this time triumphing in the tie-break to ignite mayhem in the stands.

Alcaraz then wrote “Un partido en Madrid es molto longo” (“A match in Madrid is long”) on a nearby TV camera, citing a comment made by Real Madrid legend Juanito in 1986 that has since become synonymous with club attendance. returns.

With a match time of three hours and 35 minutes, he was the perfect signing for Alcaraz, who will become the youngest finalist at the Madrid Open when he takes on Germany’s Alexander Zverev on Sunday.

Alcaraz’s run to Madrid continues an incredible season for the teenager, having become the youngest winner of the Miami Open in April, but the youngster is keeping his feet on the ground.

Alcaraz and Djokovic kiss at the end of the match.

“I’m not going to tell you that,” Alcaraz replied when asked who is currently the best player in the world.

“I was able to beat No.1, but I’m still ranked No.9 – I still have eight players ahead of me to be No.1.

“We’re going to have a good time to take advantage of the moment, but tomorrow I’m going to play a final of a very big tournament… tonight I’m going to be very focused to be able to recover and be at my best.” possible for tomorrow’s game.

Alcaraz had received praise from Nadal after his win in Miami, who predicted it would be the “first of many” for his compatriot, and Djokovic shared Nadal’s feelings in the defeat.

“Great things to come from this talent in the future, good luck for the final tomorrow,” Djokovic said tweeted.

The Serb remained world number one for a record 369th week following a second-round win over Gael Monfils on Wednesday.

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