Novak Djokovic fights against everything and everyone and wins almost every battle. He failed in the second match of the ‘robin round’ with Jannik Sinner and that’s it. Thanks to the Italian he is still in the competition because it was he who defeated Holger Rune when he was already qualified.
In Saturday’s semifinal against Carlos Alcaraz, Djokovic again made an exercise of precision and temper in the key moment, the only one in which his opponent faltered with the serve. He ended up closing a favorable score of 6-3 and 6-2, in 1 hour and 28 minutes.
Djokovic was right and rested for Alcaraz. The Serbian star once again proved why he is the best in the world.
The young player from Murcia, in order to escape from the tension and the pressure of the fifth face to face with the world number one, woke up early to go for a walk in the Valentino Castle. The mental aspect could be one of the important factors he learned from the episode of cramps at Roland Garros.
Alcaraz knew that his options depended on a high percentage of firsts and he applied himself to it. He got 14 in a row and the match started more on his side.
Carlos Alcaraz had a chance against Novak Djokovic
In fact, in the first game he had a 15-40. Djokovic, undeterred, was saving the two break options of the rival.
Carlitos got inside 18 of the 22 first serves in the opening set. Even that was not enough to win it because his tormentor went into 24-time major champion mode.
Alcaraz did everything, for better and for worse. He missed a forehand or two and looked to his bench for answers.
“It motivates me to beat this generation of hungry youngsters,” the Balkan warned in the run-up to the tournament. Djokovic goes from a ‘Next Gen’ like Alcaraz to another one like Sinner, probably the most in-form player of the moment and who already beat him in the group stage. Although the Italian then did him the favor of beating Rune to get him into the semifinals.
Most final berths at ATP Finals
- Roger Federer 10
- Novak Djokovic 9
- Ivan Lendl 9
- Boris Becker 8
- Pete Sampras 6
But the finals are made for people of a different breed and Novak is almost always there. In the second set, Djokovic gave the final blow with a second break in the third game.
It was an income that seemed too big to play on an ultra-fast surface and indoors. Winner of 21 of his last 22 matches, the best in history is hungrier than anyone.
The Serb had the ball for the 4-1. He missed and was about to pay dearly because immediately after he had to face a 3-2 and 15-40. It was then when he invented a forehand passing shot when he smelled the tie at 3-3. That was the end of the semifinal.
Djokovic, reigning champion of the tournament, will play his ninth final, the same as Ivan Lendl, in search of a seventh title, which would be a record number, breaking the tie with Roger Federer. Nole’s domination further magnifies what Carlitos has done on the Wimbledon grass.