Thursday, March 23

Djokovic, the last frontier of Alcaraz




The ‘student’ who surpasses the teacher. Eight years then a Spaniard, different from Rafael Nadal, returns to the semifinal of the Mutua Madrid Open. Carlos Alcaraz he gets into the top four of the home tournament after a heroic match with the Mallorcan, full of continuous upsets, on one side and on the other. The dominance of the first set by the prodigy from El Palmar, the start of the second with a fall and subsequent injury and once again a sublime tennis rise by Alcaraz that has allowed him to dethrone the king of clay, and his partner, in three competitive sets up to last point. The match began to turn into an epic duel when the young star, after a sprain ankle, continued with the same winning attitude without leaving room for his rival to take advantage of the ‘setback’ of number 9 in the world ranking.

In today’s semi-final the eternal legend Djokovic meets the new rising star. Is he first confrontation between Serbian and Spanish, which supposes a new level test in the growth of the young person.

From Madrid to the sky

Last year, at this time, Carlos Alcaraz fell under the blows of Rafa Nadal in two sets, in a match dominated by the legend, 6-1, 6-2. In twelve months the story changed and, after having climbed more than 120 positions in the world ranking, the ‘child’ prodigy managed to advance in the home tournament taking personal revenge on him. In 2003, while the new Spanish idol of tennis, Nadal, was born in a town in Murcia inherited de Moyá the world leading witness of this sport after beating him at the 1,000 Masters in Hamburg which, by irony of fate, was replaced by the competition in Madrid in 2009. Yesterday, 19 years later, a similar scene was witnessed, just as Nadal admitted in his conference: “Obviously it will be a relay.” In addition, Alcaraz is the youngest tennis player to play a semifinal at the Madrid Masters, beating the previous record of Denis Shapovalov. The Spanish talent prepares for his arrival among the greatest, and shows confidence to face one last step in height.

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Djokovic, the legend

The Serbian is in the penultimate round of the Mutua Madrid Open and, for the umpteenth time, he faces a Spaniard, although this time it is not the ‘usual’ Nadal but a player he has never met. It is the seventh semifinal at the Caja Mágica for the Serbian, who eliminated Hubert Hurkacz in a one-way match, 6-3, 6-4, in one hour and twenty minutes. The number 1 dominated the confrontation, the pace of the game increased and there was no hope for the Pole. Initial doubts about fitness of Djokovic disappeared after the exhibitions in the first round against Gael Monfils and yesterday in the quarterfinals. He did not play the round of 16 against Andy Murray due to the Scot’s withdrawal. At a press conference he declared: «This is the correct process, I have had time to prepare for this tournament and I am satisfied that it is reflected on the court». The objective of the Belgrade champion is to continue launching towards the assault of his fourth crown, with which he would position himself second in this special classification behind Rafael Nadal, holder of five titles. Today’s match marks a new beginning, a clash between two phenomena; one in search of space in the tennis elite and the other wants to confirm his status as a myth in this sport. No one is a favorite, although the home crowd pushes for ‘Charlie Brown‘, while Djokovic can count on his enormous baggage of experience and ignite the champion’s instinct that has distinguished him throughout his career.

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