Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz played one of the matches of the season at the 2022 Madrid Masters, hanging in there for three hours and 36 minutes before the World No. 1 finally capitulated.
The Serb started off rather well, taking the first set in a hard-fought tie-breaker. But Alcaraz slowly found his rhythm as the encounter wore on and pulled out all the tricks in the book to prevail 6-7(5), 7-5, 7-6(5).
Both players appeared to be on the edge of exhaustion as the match came to a close but it was all forgotten when they reached the net for the customary handshake. The 20-time Grand Slam champion showed his magnanimity by embracing his conqueror in a warm embrace, and the scene was further amplified by the triumphant cheers of the Madrid faithful.
The duo exchanged a few words before departing, as Djokovic continued patting Alcaraz's back to appreciate the enormity of what the teenager has achieved in the space of the last two days. The World No. 9 took out Rafael Nadal before turning his attention to the Serb, meaning that he became the first player ever to beat both Nadal and Djokovic in the same claycourt tournament.
Carlos Alcaraz also emulated his childhood idol Nadal with his recent victory over the World No. 1 in another aspect. The Spaniard became the youngest player to beat the top-ranked ATP player since the 21-time Grand Slam champion did so against Roger Federer at the 2005 French Open.
Carlos Alcaraz will attempt to win his fourth title of the year on Sunday
Following his victory over Novak Djokovic, Carlos Alcaraz will take on Alexander Zverev in the final of the 2022 Madrid Open. The Spaniard will be looking to win his second Masters 1000 title of the year following his triumph at the Miami Masters.
Furthermore, Alcaraz is in line to become the first man in 2022 to win four titles. In addition to Miami, he also won the Rio Open and the Barcelona Open. The World No. 9 is currently tied with Rafael Nadal and Andrey Rublev for the achievement.
The teenager is guaranteed to move up to World No. 6 next week, a massive achievement for someone who was ranked World No. 120 this time last year. His win/loss record for the year stands at an impressive 27-3, with losses coming against Matteo Berrettini (Australian Open), Nadal (Indian Wells Masters) and Sebastian Korda (Monte-Carlo Masters).