The best player of the previous decade, 36-year-old Djokovic  and 20-year-old Alcaraz , potentially the best player of this decade. The expectations were huge, the weather beautiful (30°C, tournament’s hottest day) and for more than two hours, the match didn’t disappoint (some moments were spectacular, especially Alcaraz’s behind the back winner at full speed in the 2nd set), then a sudden twist destroyed everything…
Djokovic begins it with 100% commitment, delivering three service winners in the opening game. He breaks at 2:1, and saves break points in 7th and 9th games.
As Alcaraz leads 4:3, Djokovic takes MTO to his right forearm, and loses his serve. Alcaraz leads 5:4 (40/0) after three FH winners in a row, he has a quite good position to hit 4th, but misses and loses five straight points. At 5-all he saves a mini-set point as Djokovic sends his BH long. Another game, 40/0 again, and this time the Spaniard forces an error… Djokovic takes a toilet break
Alcaraz leads 1:0* and it’s absurd to assume he’d lose 11 straight games, but at 40/30 for Djokovic in the 2nd game, Alcaraz shows a problem with his right wrist, he makes a strange return error off standard second serve and throws his racquet… he takes MTO (cramps in right calf); because he decides to do this at even games, * he loses the game automatically which puts Djokovic 2:1 ahead (I admit I didn’t know this rule), and he wins another four games without any trouble… the sluggish Alcaraz takes a toilet break
Alcaraz moves better than in a set before, but I’d say it’s just 70% of his normal self, definitely not enough against Djokovic’s “90%”, who admits after the match that the first two sets cost him a lot of energy
“First and foremost I have to say tough luck for Carlos,” said Djokovic in his on-court interview. “Obviously at this level the last thing you want is cramp and physical problems at the late stages of a Grand Slam. So I feel for him, I feel sorry. I hope he can recover and he can come back very soon. I told him at the net. He knows how young he is. He’s got plenty of time ahead of him, so he’s going to win this tournament I’m sure many times. He’s an unbelievable player, an incredible competitor and a very nice guy, so he deserves all the applause and all the support.” The same atypical scoreline in a 3-1 match occurred in the French Open final four years ago.
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