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Carlos Alcaraz has reacted to becoming the only player ever to defeat Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal back-to-back on the clay after downing the world No 1 6-7(5) 6-4 7-6(5) in their first meeting to advance to the Madrid Open final. It comes a day after he scored his first victory over his compatriot in his third attempt.
Alcaraz came through a three hour and 35 minute battle to defeat Djokovic in what was the teenager’s first meeting with the world No 1, as he recovered from a set down. It came one day after he clinched a maiden victory over 21-time Grand Slam champion Nadal in their third meeting, and Alcaraz now finds himself in the Madrid Open final.
It makes the world No 9 the first player in history to defeat Djokovic and Nadal back-to-back on clay, and the first teenager to beat them in consecutive matches anywhere. Speaking after his tight three-set victory over the three-time former champion, the four-time title winner reacted to his historic victories over the two legends of the game.
“Well this make me a lot of confident right now to play the final tomorrow,” he said. “I mean I know that I’m playing a really good game.” And looking ahead to the future, the seventh seed was happe to have the experience to go on and beat top players.
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“For the rest of the season, I think that I am able to play against the best players in the world, beat them as well. So it makes me a lot of confidence.” Now up to world No 6 in the live rankings, Alcaraz was also asked whether he thought there were any limits to what he could achieve following his monumental victories over Nadal and Djokovic, and replied: “I don’t think so.”
He continued: “I mean, I just try to make results, to put a good game in every tournament, to still be there with the best in the world. I mean tomorrow I will go for it for the final as I did in Miami. And yeah, really really happy to be able to play a second Masters 1000 final.” Alcaraz also admitted he “didn’t know” what made the difference in such a closely-fought semi-final against the world No 1, enjoying his first victory over a top-ranked player.
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“Honestly, I don’t know was the difference. I mean it was so close, he had the chances to break my serve at the end of the second set, in the first set as well it was so close in the tiebreak. I think both of us played an unbelievable match and honestly I don’t know what to say was the difference,” he laughed.
Alcaraz is now up to nine match wins in a row after lifting the recent Barcelona Open title. He could face Tsitsipas, his quarter-final victim in Barcelona, in the final with the Greek taking on defending champion Alexander Zverev in the second semi-final on Saturday evening. The Spaniard has never beaten last year’s winner Zverev but has not faced the German since his incredible rise began this season.
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