Carlos Alcaraz upset No.4 Rafael Nadal, No.1 Novak Djokovic to reach Madrid Open final

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Carlos Alcaraz became the youngest player to reach a final in Madrid Open history after beating world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in Saturday’s semifinals. The Spaniard pulled off the big surprise just two days after turning 19.

In a match that lasted three hours and 35 minutes, Alcaraz defeated Djokovic 6-7(5) 7-5 7-6(5) despite losing the first set. The win marked Alcaraz’s sixth straight win against top 10 opponents.

Alcaraz reached the semifinals by beating world No. 4 Rafael Nadal in the previous round. Nadal would already be a tough opponent but Alcaraz faced an even bigger challenge after twisting his ankle in the third game of the second set. Still, Alcaraz exited the quarterfinals with a hard-fought 6-2, 1-6, 6-3 win in a game that lasted almost two and a half hours.

Prior to this weekend, no player had ever defeated Nadal and Djokovic in back-to-back matches in the same clay court tournament. Alcaraz finished first on Saturday and his joyful celebration after Djokovic’s win explains exactly how much it meant to him.

“It was so close,” said Alcaraz after defeating Djokovic. “…I think we both played an incredible match.”

Djokovic’s defeat means he is still chasing a title this season, while Alcaraz could win their fourth on Sunday. After his semi-final win, Alcaraz told reporters that beating two veterans in Djokovic and Nadal gave him confidence for the rest of the season because he now knows he can win against the best.

Alcaraz will put that confidence to the test on Sunday when he meets world No. 2 Alexander Zverev in the Madrid Open final. Carlos Alcaraz upset No.4 Rafael Nadal, No.1 Novak Djokovic to reach Madrid Open final

Justin Scacco

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