Carlos Alcaraz backed up his stunning quarter-final win over Rafael Nadal with another major upset at the 2022 Madrid Masters. The young Spaniard took out World No. 1 Novak Djokovic on Saturday to advance to the summit clash.
Alcaraz gave the packed crowd at the Manolo Santana Stadium plenty to cheer over the course of the marathon contest that lasted three hours and 56 minutes. He eventually prevailed 6-7(5), 7-5, 7-6(5).
The in-form youngster showed nerves of steel after missing out on a match point in the third set, before taking the win in a tie-break. Alcaraz achieved a number of significant career milestones with the win. Here, we take a look at three of them:
#1 Carlos Alcaraz becomes the youngest finalist in Madrid Masters history
Carlos Alcaraz, who turned 19 earlier in the week, has become the youngest finalist at the Madrid Masters.
The Spaniard's last two encounters came against two of the most prolific names in tennis, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal. But the young Spaniard showed incredible maturity despite the massive difference in big-match experience.
Alcaraz overcame a second-set stumble against Nadal, outlasting the King of Clay in three sets in his own backyard. The youngster's win over Djokovic, however, was even more impressive as he had to play catch-up for a large portion of the match after dropping the opening set in a tie-break.
And while many thought that Alcaraz would fade away after losing such a tight opener, the Spaniard did not lose his cool for even a moment and came back stronger from the disappointment.
#2 Carlos Alcaraz becomes the first player to beat Rafael Nadal & Novak Djokovic back-to-back on clay
Alcaraz's exploits against Nadal and Djokovic made him the first teenager to score back-to-back wins over the duo and the first ever player to do so on the red dirt.
Alcaraz's win against Nadal was an exhibition of claycourt tennis. Both players played exceptional topspin forehands, while managing to mix things up with delicate touches to set up passing shots.
Alcaraz proved to be the steadier of the two players in the encounter, managing to upstage the five-time champion for a huge win. But it was his victory over Djokovic on Saturday that really announced him as a world-beater.
Alcaraz came into the match under huge pressure of needing to back up his win over Nadal, while also being the last remaining home player in the draw. The youngster channeled the crowd's energy exceptionally well, using it to his advantage instead of letting the pressure overwhelm him.
He continued to go for his shots even on the biggest of points and made it a point to acknowledge the rousing home crowd after every glorious winner. In the process, the 19-year-old ended up proving that he has what it takes to stand up on the biggest of occasions.
#3 Carlos Alcaraz becomes the youngest player to defeat a World No. 1 in 17 years
At 19 years and three days, Alcaraz became the youngest player to beat a reigning World No. 1 in the last 17 years.
The last time anyone this young won a match against a World No. 1 was at the 2004 Miami Open, where a then 17-year-old Nadal beat Roger Federer in one of the legendary duo's first tour meetings.