Carlos Alcaraz took down Rafael Nadal 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 in the quarterfinals of the Madrid Open on Friday. The Spaniard will face Novak Djokovic in the semifinals on Saturday.
After losing to Nadal in their previous two meetings, including a second-round defeat in Madrid last year, Alcaraz got the better of his 35-year-old compatriot, becoming the first teenager to beat the 13-time Roland Garros champion on clay.
His next mission will be to beat Novak Djokovic in the semifinals and secure consecutive wins over members of the Big 3 in the same event.
Asked in his post-match interview if he thinks about the possibility of achieving the feat, Alcaraz said he would try and draw inspiration from Argentinian David Nalbandian. The Argentine is the only player to have beaten the Big 3 of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in the same tournament. He achieved the feat in Madrid in 2007 when the event was played on hardcourt.
Alcaraz joked that he would text Nalbandian for advice ahead of his match against Djokovic.
"Of course. I am focusing on tomorrow. I will text Nalbandian how he did it. I will fight and let's see what happens tomorrow," said Carlos Alcaraz.
Carlos Alcaraz looking to become the first player to beat Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in back-to-back matches on clay
While Nalbandian was able to string up back-to-back wins over Nadal and Djokovic in the same tournament, he did so on hardcourt and not on the red dirt.
Alcaraz, on his part, will look to become the first player to beat the two legends of the game in consecutive matches on clay.
Other players have come mightily close to achieving the feat. Andy Murray beat Nadal in the semifinals in Madrid in 2016 but fell to Djokovic in the final. Dominic Thiem suffered the same fate as he edged Nadal in the quarterfinals in Rome five years ago but lost in the semifinals to Djokovic.
Stefanos Tsitsipas prevailed against the Spaniard in the semifinals in Madrid three years ago, but he too failed to Djokovic in the final.