Novak Djokovic made the most of his experience to outclass world no.1 Carlos Alcaraz Garfia in the first semi-final of the ongoing French Open. The two-time French Open champion, who is chasing a record 23rd men’s Grand Slam title and third Roland Garros crown, defeated an ailing Alcaraz 6-2, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1 to become the oldest men’s finalist in Paris since Bill Tilden in 1930. After making it a set apiece, Alcaraz barely moved in the third and fourth set due to his physical struggles, allowing Djokovic to breeze past him at Court Philippe Chatrier.
During the second set, however, Alcaraz hit the shot of the tournament, leaving everyone inside the arena, including Djokovic in complete awe.
The 36-year-old tempted Alcaraz with a drop shot, which the 20-year-old did manage to return. Djokovic would then play a deep shot which led Alcaraz to scramble to the baseline.
While everyone thought that the 20-year-old would try to loft the ball over Djokovic, he did the unthinkable by sending the ball toward’s his opponent’s right with a delicate flick.
The crowd was in complete awe and stood up to applaud the youngster while Djokovic and Alcaraz both stood there laughing.
— Roland-Garros (@rolandgarros) June 9, 2023
His shot, however, reminded fans of Roger Federer’s winner against David Nalbandian in the 2006 French Open semifinal.
I’ve seen Roger has done it in 2006 Roland-Garros SF. They reacted the same. pic.twitter.com/XBr53LmJsN
— (@Ju9d4Us8SOaM5PN) June 9, 2023
FEDERER a Nalbandian en SF #RolandGarros 2006.
ALCARAZ a Djokovic en SF #RolandGarros 2023.
17 anos después se repite la historia con un punto memorable en la Philippe Chatrier. pic.twitter.com/bzsp3AIvsg
— Pablo Puente (@PabloPuente17) June 9, 2023
Federer in the 2006 Roland Garros semis.
Alcaraz in the Roland Garros 2023 semis. pic.twitter.com/9zOoIkkHux
— imam hulagur (@imamhulagur) June 9, 2023
Dos punts identics amb 17 anys de diferencia. Semifinal de Roland Garros 2023 Djokovic-Alcaraz. Semifinal de Roland Garros 2006 Federer-Nalbandian pic.twitter.com/Qvsj1XcVsa
— Joan R Vallvé (@joanRvallve) June 9, 2023
After the match, Djokovic backed Alcaraz to win the French Open “multiple times” after the young Spaniard suffered severe cramps which derailed his titles hopes Friday.
“It was very demanding physically for both of us, and things like that physically, cramps or whatever he was struggling with, can happen,” said Djokovic, who will meet last year’s runner-up Casper Ruud in his 34th Grand Slam final.
“Respect for him for hanging in there until the last point, really. It was obvious that he was struggling with his movement.
(With AFP Inputs)
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