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Novak Djokovic Downs Carlos Alcaraz to Reach French Open Final

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Novak Djokovic is headed back to the ultimate of the French Open.

Djokovic scored a victory for the old guard Thursday afternoon in Paris, registering a type of technical knockout against a cramping Carlos Alcaraz. Djokovic prevailed in 4 sets, 6-3, 5-7, 6-1, 6-1, in a match that had figured to be one for the ages.

It pitted arguably the best player ever in Djokovic, the winner of twenty-two Grand Slam singles titles, attempting to hold off Alcaraz, a 20-year-old trying to move one step closer to completing his takeover of the game. Djokovic and Alcaraz had shown themselves to be a level higher than anyone else through the past 12 months as they took turns winning Grand Slam titles and clamoring for the world’s top rating.

And for greater than two hours, it was a match for the ages. Djokovic played nearly perfect tennis to seize the primary set, only to have Alcaraz overcome his early tightness to showcase his power and magical shotmaking in the subsequent. As Djokovic left the court for a rest room break, there was every reason to consider this might go five sets and greater than 4 hours, like so many classic matches Djokovic has played during his storied profession.

It didn’t. Not even close.

Early within the third set, after Djokovic had pushed Alcaraz into probably the most taxing tennis he has needed to play within the tournament, leg cramps overcame the young Spaniard. At 1-1 he headed for his chair and asked for treatment from a trainer. The move cost him the subsequent game, one during which he would have served, since the request didn’t occur during a scheduled changeover.

That hardly mattered though, because Alcaraz could still barely move when he returned to the court. He quickly lost the subsequent 4 games and the set, 6-1.

He then left the court for one more break and got here back barely stronger, however the lightning quick movement that’s one among the hallmarks of his game remained missing in motion. The consequence became a mere matter of time, which was fitting, because in a way, Djokovic had made it that way from the beginning of the afternoon.

He’ll now face Casper Ruud of Norway, who beat Alexander Zverev in straight sets on Friday, in the ultimate on Sunday. It should be Djokovic’s thirty fourth Grand Slam singles final. If he wins, he’ll take the lead within the race for probably the most Grand Slam singles championships amongst men. He’s currently tied at 22 with Rafael Nadal, who pulled out of this French Open with hip and leg injuries.

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