Novak Djokovic qualified for the Roland-Garros final on Friday, where he will seek to become the first man with 23 Grand Slam titles, winning the clash against world No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz, physically impaired from the third set of their semi-final.
Published on : 09/06/2023 – 19:12
Novak Djokovic won 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 in 3h23 min. Visibly the victim of cramps, the 20-year-old Spaniard suddenly lost his footing at the start of the third set, after a second set of great intensity. In the final on Sunday, the 36-year-old Serb will face the world No. 4 Casper Ruud, outgoing finalist, or the German Alexander Zverev, ex-world No. 2 today 27th, opposed in stride. The shock anticipated from the draw will ultimately not have kept all its promises.
While at the end of the second set, Novak Djokovic seemed physically damaged and left Center Court after Carlos Alcaraz equalized one set all, it was the young Spaniard who suddenly cracked in the second game of the third set, visibly victim of cramps in the thighs. The two players had been facing each other for about two and a half hours, and the end of the second set had been particularly intense. Massed immediately, without waiting for the change of side, Carlos Alcaraz received a penalty game. The Juan Carlos Ferrero protege then went all the way, but only scored one game until the end of the game.
Novak Djokovic will make history on Sunday as he seeks to become the first man to win a 23rd Grand Slam title. be one more than Rafael Nadal, which he had equaled after his victory at the Australian Open last January. The absolute record, men and women combined, is held by Australian Margaret Court, with 24 trophies won in the 1960s and 70s. Serena Williams has 23 to her name. If he wins on Sunday, Novak Djokovic will reinstall himself as a bonus on the throne of world tennis at the expense of Carlos Alcaraz.
In the event of a title, he will also become the first player to win at least three times in each of the four Grand Slam tournaments. Margaret Court, Serena Williams and Steffi Graf have achieved this on the women’s side. Novak Djokovic would also be the oldest Roland-Garros winner, just ahead of Nadal. This will be his seventh final on clay in Paris, his 34th in a Grand Slam tournament.
The blow of the tournament
Before this brutal rebound in the third set, Novak Djokovic had made the best start in this clash between the representative of the “ Big3 and new winning face of world tennis. Obviously tense, Carlos Alcaraz, for once, showed his youth. Conversely, the Serbian, an old veteran, knew how to start off on the floor and take the Murcian by the throat, having the answer to everything.
More liberated over the second set, Carlos Alcaraz ended up equalizing at one set everywhere, breaking white Djokovic at 6-5. But at what cost… Before that, he had served in vain to win the second set at 5-3 and had seen three set points fly away in a row in the next game.
Even eliminated, Carlitos ” will probably keep to his credit the most beautiful point of the tournament, this unthinkable squash shot which turned into a winning passing at the start of the second set, after delivering a drop shot from Djokovic and sprinting towards the back of the court, back to the net .