Tennis News

From around the world

Watch Highlights Of Unforgettable Djokovic-Alcaraz Final

  • Posted: Aug 21, 2023

Watch Highlights Of Unforgettable Djokovic-Alcaraz Final

Djokovic defeated Alcaraz in longest best-of-three final in ATP history

Did you miss the unforgettable Western & Southern Open final between Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz?

Djokovic battled past Alcaraz 5-7, 7-6(7), 7-6(4) in a gruelling three-hour, 49-minute epic to claim his third crown at the ATP Masters 1000 tournament. The Serbian extended his record to 39 Masters 1000 titles by triumphing in the longest best-of-three final in ATP Tour history (since 1990).

You May Also Like:

Djokovic Saves MP, Stuns Alcaraz For Cincinnati Title

The 36-year-old trailed by a set and a break and saved championship point at 5/6 in the second-set tie-break before rallying for a memorable victory. In doing so, he levelled his budding Lexus ATP Head2Head rivalry with Alcaraz at 2-2.

Watch extended match highlights of the incredible Cincinnati classic final above.

Source link

Draper Makes Successful ATP Tour Return In Winston-Salem

  • Posted: Aug 21, 2023

Draper Makes Successful ATP Tour Return In Winston-Salem

Cincinnati quarter-finalist Purcell maintains good form

Briton Jack Draper made a successful return to ATP Tour action on Monday when he defeated Portugal’s Nuno Borges 6-3, 6-1 to reach the second round of the Winston-Salem Open. It was his first tour-level match since Roland Garros due to a shoulder injury.

“I played a really clean match. The guy is a really good player, so is everyone on this level,” Draper said. “It’s good to be back here in Winston. I had amazing memories here last year, so I’m happy to be back.”

The Official App Of Tennis | Download ATP WTA Live App

One year ago, Draper defeated Fabio Fognini and Dominic Thiem en route to the Winston-Salem quarter-finals. Against Borges he hit 11 aces and did not face a break point.

“I think my serve was amazing today. I kept on putting pressure on him on my return games,” Draper said. “Last week [when I returned on the ATP Challenger Tour], I wasn’t too sharp when I first started back playing. But hopefully I can build on this performance and show you guys some good tennis all week.”

Australian Max Purcell, who reached the quarter-finals in Cincinnati, maintained his good form with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over 2018 Roland Garros semi-finalist Marco Cecchinato. Purcell is pursuing his first ATP Tour singles title and is at a career-high No. 47 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.

Other straight-sets winners were Marton Fucsovics, who ousted Zhang Zhizhen 6-4, 6-2, and lucky loser Omni Kumar, who earned his first tour-level win with a 6-3, 7-6(3) victory over Arthur Rinderknech.

Facundo Diaz Acosta rallied past Quentin Halys 4-6, 6-2, 6-4 and Rinky Hijikata defeated Illya Marchenko 4-6, 6-3, 6-2. Dominik Koepfer clawed past Constant Lestienne 6-4, 3-6, 7-6(8) and Michael Mmoh found a way past Darian King 6-2, 3-6, 6-3.

Source link

Peniston, Darderi Win Maiden Challenger Titles

  • Posted: Aug 21, 2023

Peniston, Darderi Win Maiden Challenger Titles

Lestienne wins Challenger 125 event in California

Ryan Peniston toughed out a tricky week at the ATP Challenger Tour event in Winnipeg, Canada to lift his maiden title at that level.

The 27-year-old dropped just five games across his first three matches before needing a deciding set in his semi-final and final contests. Peniston ousted #NextGenATP Swiss Leandro Riedi 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 in the championship match to triumph at the Winnipeg National Bank Challenger presented by MBuilds.

“It feels amazing, after having [lost] three finals before and losing the second set, I was [having] negative thoughts,” Peniston said. “I managed to keep fighting and pull through to the end. I’ve just been taking it one match at a time, one point at a time.”

The Official App Of Tennis | Download ATP WTA Live App

Peniston, who entered the main draw as an alternate, fought through blustery conditions all week to be crowned champion.

“I grew up by the sea, playing with windy conditions since I was young,” said Peniston, who is No. 208 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. “So I definitely like playing in the wind. That helped big time.”

Also in Winnipeg, Briton Jack Draper returned to the match court after spending two months sidelined with a shoulder injury. In his first tournament since Roland Garros, the 21-year-old reached the quarter-finals and will next compete at the ATP 250 event in Winston-Salem.

In other Challenger Tour action, Jesper de Jong did not drop a set all week to win the Lotto Kozerki Open in Grodzisk Mazowiecki, Poland. The 23-year-old defeated Lebanon’s Benjamin Hassan 6-3, 6-3 in the final to lift his first Challenger trophy since June 2021.

“It means a lot. A new career high, it means my first Challenger on hard court and second Challenger title,” De Jong said. “It’s a good step in the right direction. I’m happy to make another step.”

<a href=Jesper de Jong wins the Challenger 100 event in Grodzisk Mazowiecki.” />
Jesper de Jong in action at the Grodzisk Mazowiecki Challenger. Credit: Piotr Kucza

The Dutchman, who is at No. 143 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, will next attempt to qualify for his first major main-draw appearance this week at the US Open.

“My alarm is set for 3 a.m., then at six we fly to Paris and then to New York,” De Jong said on Saturday. “It’s going to be tough, but that’s the life of a tennis player. Not much time to celebrate. Tomorrow it’s all focus on New York.”

#NextGenATP Italian Luciano Darderi completed a dream week on home soil at the Internazionali di Tennis Citta di Todi, where the seventh seed survived Frenchman Clement Tabur 6-4, 6-7(5), 6-1 in the final to win his first Challenger crown.

<a href=Luciano Darderi wins his first Challenger title in Todi, Italy.” />
Luciano Darderi wins his first Challenger title in Todi, Italy. Credit: Yuri Serafini

A finalist at the Buenos Aires Challenger in April, the 21-year-old Darderi is 18th in the Pepperstone ATP Live Next Gen Race as he aims for maiden qualification to the Next Gen ATP Finals.

“I feel really good. It’s my third final so I’m very happy to win it here in Italy with my people,” Darderi said. “I think it’s a positive week here. I will keep trying to do my best.”

Frenchman Constant Lestienne won his seventh Challenger title at the Golden Gate Open in Stanford, California, where he defeated home hope Emilio Nava 7-6(4), 6-2 in the final.

Lestienne, seeded fourth, needed a dramatic comeback in the opening round, saving seven match points against Dane Sweeny, to stay alive before not dropping a set the remainder of the week.

The 31-year-old Lestienne, who reached a career-high No. 48 in February, earned his first title since last August, when he won the Vancouver Challenger.

<a href=Constant Lestienne wins the Challenger 125 event in Stanford, California.” />
Constant Lestienne wins the Challenger 125 event in Stanford, California. Credit: Lani-Rae Green

Source link

Wawrinka, Evert Marvel At Djokovic-Alcaraz Showdown

  • Posted: Aug 21, 2023

Wawrinka, Evert Marvel At Djokovic-Alcaraz Showdown

Relive the epic through reactions on social media

The blockbuster showdown between Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz on Sunday in the Western & Southern Open final turned into one of the best matches in recent memory.

Talk about the clash quickly fired up on social media, where fans and members of the tennis community marvelled at the action. Among the current and former players who commented on the match were three-time major champion Stan Wawrinka, WTA legend Chris Evert and former World No. 4 Brad Gilbert, who helped coach Coco Gauff to the Cincinnati title earlier in the day.

You May Also Like:

Djokovic Saves MP, Stuns Alcaraz For Cincinnati Title

Source link

Purcell Breaks Top 50, Mover Of Week

  • Posted: Aug 21, 2023

Purcell Breaks Top 50, Mover Of Week looks at the top Movers of the Week in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, as of Monday, 21 August 2023

As Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz’s cat-and-mouse battle for World No. 1 continued with a thrilling championship match at the Western & Southern Open, a host of other ATP Tour stars made big jumps off the back of the ATP Masters 1000 in Cincinnati. looks at the movers of the week in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings as of 21 August 2023.

The Official App Of Tennis | Download ATP WTA Live App

No. 47 Max Purcell, +23 (Career High)
A breakout run to the quarter-finals in Cincinnati has propelled the 25-year-old Purcell to a career-high No. 47. After reaching the second round as a qualifier in Toronto in his maiden Masters 1000 main-draw appearance, the Australian qualified again in Cincinnati before downing Lloyd Harris, Casper Ruud (Purcell’s first Top 10 win) and Stan Wawrinka to book a quarter-final spot in Ohio. Despite a three-set defeat to World No. 1 Alcaraz, Purcell is now a Top 50 player for the first time.

No. 4 Holger Rune, +1 (Career High)
There was a disappointing end to Rune’s debut as a Top 5 player as the Dane retired from his opening match in Cincinnati against Mackenzie McDonald after receiving treatment on his lower back. Despite that setback, the 20-year-old continues to rise in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. He will head to the US Open in New York as the new World No. 4.

You May Also Like:

Rune Explains Why Wozniacki ‘Was A Big Inspiration’

No. 5 Casper Ruud, +2
Ruud also suffered an early exit in Cincinnati, but he nonetheless trades places upwards with new No. 7 Stefanos Tsitsipas. Ruud’s defeat to Purcell was his second-straight opening-round loss in Cincinnati, but it is unlikely to deter the Norwegian ahead of the US Open — a year ago he recovered from defeat to Ben Shelton in Ohio by charging to his second major final of 2022 in New York.

No. 12 Alexander Zverev, +5
Zverev’s rebuilding job after suffering a serious ankle injury at 2022 Roland Garros continued apace last week in Cincinnati, where the German reached his first Masters 1000 semi-final of the season. The 26-year-old Zverev downed Grigor Dimitrov and Daniil Medvedev en route to the last four, where he pushed eventual champion Djokovic close in two tight sets.

No. 40 Alexei Popyrin, +18 (Career High)
Australia’s Popyrin backed up his title run in Umag with a stirring quarter-final run in Cincinnati, where he was competing on hard courts for the first time since March. The 24-year-old fell to Purcell in qualifying but then capitalised on being awarded a lucky loser spot in the main draw by defeating Daniel Altmaier and Emil Ruusuvuori, before falling to Hubert Hurkacz in the last eight.

Other Notable Top 100 Movers
No. 17 Hubert Hurkacz, +3
No. 21 Alejandro Davidovich Fokina, +2 (Career High)
No. 23 Adrian Mannarino, +9
No. 24 Nicolas Jarry, +2 (Career High)
No. 39 Mackenzie McDonald, +4 (Career High)
No. 52 Dusan Lajovic, +14
No. 65 Luca Van Assche, +3 (Career High)
No. 71 Corentin Moutet, +6
No. 84 Alexander Shevchenko, +4 (Joint Career High)

Source link

The Surprise Tactic That Helped Djokovic Beat Alcaraz In Epic Cincinnati Final

  • Posted: Aug 21, 2023

The Surprise Tactic That Helped Djokovic Beat Alcaraz In Epic Cincinnati Final

Brain Game analyses the memorable three-set clash

Think it’s foolish to serve and volley behind your second serve? Wrong. It’s foolish not to.

Novak Djokovic served and volleyed six times behind his second serve, winning every point on his way to a thrilling 5-7, 7-6(7), 7-6(4) victory over Carlos Alcaraz in the Western & Southern Open final on Sunday.

The back of the court was failing Djokovic early on as torrid baseline exchanges took their toll in the blistering Cincinnati heat. The Serbian suffered from heat exhaustion after only a handful of games and cleverly changed gears to attack the net with approach shots and serve and volley. Djokovic also served and volleyed twice behind his first serve, winning one of them. No other strategy he employed came close to winning 88 per cent (7/8) of the time. Alcaraz served and volleyed 10 times, winning eight, with all of them being behind a first serve.

Djokovic initially served and volleyed behind his second serve at 5-5, 0/15 in the opening set. It was a clever counter to Alcaraz’s ultra-deep return position. Djokovic hit a heavy kick second serve to Alcaraz’s backhand return and got well inside the service line for the volley, knocking off a backhand volley winner. In fact, all six of Djokovic’s serve and volley forays forward behind his second serve were to take advantage of Alcaraz standing extremely deep to return serve.

You May Also Like:

Djokovic Saves MP, Stuns Alcaraz For Cincinnati Title

The advantage of Djokovic’s slow, heavy second serve is that it takes much longer than normal to reach the returner, enabling Djokovic excellent court position for his first volley well inside the baseline. The kick serve also jumps up high out of the opponent’s strike zone, giving them little power to use back at the server.

It was a masterful strategic manouevre that seemed counter-intuitive to everyone but Djokovic. It was straight out of the Patrick Rafter playbook.

Djokovic served and volleyed behind his second serve a few points later at 5-5, 15/40. This time, it was a slow, 94 mph slice second serve out wide in the Deuce court. Again, Alcaraz stood extremely deep to return and made contact with the ball around 13 feet behind the baseline. Djokovic hit his second volley for a winner as Alcaraz was left sitting on the court after losing balance trying to chase the ball down.

Djokovic’s gutsiest call to serve and volley behind his second serve occurred at 6/6 in the second set tie-break. He had just saved a match point on the previous point by approaching the net, and he desperately needed another quick point as heat exhaustion saw him doubled over as they changed sides.

The Official App Of Tennis | Download ATP WTA Live App

Alcaraz stood in a traditional position closer to the baseline to return Djokovic’s first serve, but it was a fault. Alcaraz moved well back behind the baseline to return the second serve, which the Serbian duly noted. Djokovic hit a 95 mph slice second serve to Alcaraz’s forehand return, and two backhand volleys later had won the point. Djokovic’s body was failing him from the extreme heat, but his strategic mindset and warrior mentality carried him to the finish line.

In the opening set, Djokovic only won 40 per cent of his baseline points and appeared at the net just four times. In the second set, he still only won 42 per cent of baseline points but appeared at the net 14 times, winning 11. He was back in the match.

Alcaraz’s Achilles’ heel in the match was his return of serve. Djokovic only committed 18 return errors, while the Spaniard collected more than double that amount with a staggering 37 return errors, including 25 from the forehand wing. Alcaraz committed at least one return error in both tie-breaks and every one of Djokovic’s 18 service games except one. Alcaraz could not figure out where to stand to return, especially against Djokovic’s second serve. Sometimes, he was making contact nine feet inside the baseline, and sometimes 18 feet behind the baseline. He never locked onto a return location that looked comfortable.

Sneaking straight in behind stealthy second serves saved Djokovic’s legs and lungs from further punishment at the back of the court. It showed tremendous courage and conviction, but ultimately, it was an easy choice, with Alcaraz giving up so much ground to start the point.

Source link

A Gateway To Greatness: Top 10 Records In Pepperstone ATP Rankings History

  • Posted: Aug 21, 2023

A Gateway To Greatness: Top 10 Records In Pepperstone ATP Rankings History

Breaking down the 50-year history of the ATP Tour’s elite club

To break the Top 10 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings is to become part of an exclusive group of players in the history of men’s professional tennis. Only 181 men have managed the feat across five decades, reflecting the difficulty of the achievement.

Even within such an exclusive club, some memberships still stand out. continues its celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings with a look at some of the most notable Top 10 records in history.

Top 10 Longevity

Nine hundred and twelve consecutive weeks. That is how long Rafael Nadal lived inside the Top 10 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, rising into the Top 10 for the first time on 24th April 2005 at the age of 18, a month before capturing his first Roland Garros title. Fourteen trophies later at the clay-court major and the Spaniard finally left the Top 10 on 21st March 2023.

For much of his 18 years in the Top 10, Nadal was No. 1 or No. 2, though there were a few close calls, particularly when he was injured. In the summer of 2015 he lived dangerously at No. 10 but slid no further south, and in the winter of 2016-17, he dipped to No. 9 but was No. 1 by the end of the year.

“I’ve faced issues in terms of injuries during different parts of my career,” said Nadal after passing Jimmy Connors’ then-record mark of 789 consecutive weeks in the Top 10 in November 2020. “But I always hold the passion and the love to keep doing what I do, which is to play tennis.”

Nadal’s consistent presence for so long among the ATP Tour’s elite is a reflection of his relentlessness in every game, set and match in which he has competed across his career. That unwavering resilience is an attribute that also defined American great Connors, whose Top 10 stay lasted from 1973 until 1988.

Behind Nadal and Connors on the all-time list of longest streaks inside the Top 10 are Roger Federer, Ivan Lendl and Pete Sampras. All three also remained a member of the ATP Tour’s elite for more than a decade.

Most Consecutive Weeks In Top 10 Of Pepperstone ATP Rankings

Player Consecutive Weeks
Rafael Nadal 912 (2005-23)
Jimmy Connors 789 (1973-88)
Roger Federer 734 (2002-16)
Ivan Lendl 619 (1980-92)
Pete Sampras 565 (1990-2001)

Most Top 10 Finishes

<a href=Roger Federer” />

Roger Federer in action at the 2018 Nitto ATP Finals in London. Photo Credit: Peter Staples/ATP Tour.

The Roger Federer vs. Rafael Nadal story was about more than two greats racking up outstanding numbers on the ATP Tour. Years of memorable points, matches and off-court moments helped forge one of the greatest rivalries that tennis — and the wider world of sport — has ever seen.

Yet a close look at Federer and Nadal’s respective journeys in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings is needed to fully comprehend their achievements over the course of nearly two decades. The pair shares the record for the most Top 10 year-end finishes with 18, a demonstration of just how permanent their membership of the ATP Tour’s elite came to be.

More in-depth analysis shows these were less tales of Top 10 consistency than Top 10 domination. Both players finished in the Top 5 for a joint-record 16 of their 18 years. When it comes year-end finishes in the Top 3, Federer (15) edges Nadal (14), with Novak Djokovic tied with the Spaniard in second place on that list. For Top 2 finishes, Nadal (13) leads the way ahead of Federer (11) and Djokovic (10).

Djokovic, who holds the record for most year-end No. 1 finishes (7) and most overall weeks spent at No. 1 (389), is fifth on the list of most Top 10 finishes with 15, one shy of American legends Andre Agassi and Connors. Currently No. 2 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings with just over three months left of the 2023 season, however, the Serbian is already set to match those past greats’ tally of 16.

Most Year-End Top 10 Finishes In Pepperstone ATP Rankings

Player Top 10 Finishes
Roger Federer 18 (2002-15, 2017-20)
Rafael Nadal 18 (2005-22)
Andre Agassi 16 (1988-92, 1994-96, 1998-2005)
Jimmy Connors 16 (1973-88)
Novak Djokovic 15 (2007-16, 2018-22)

Top 10 Teens

<a href=Aaron Krickstein” />

Aaron Krickstein is the youngest man to break the Top 10 in Pepperstone ATP Rankings history. Photo Credit: Allsport

American Aaron Krickstein captured nine tour-level titles and rose to a career-high No. 6 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings during a storied 13-year career. His greatest achievement arguably came during the early stages, when he cracked the Top 10 for the first time aged 17 years and 11 days in 1984.

Nobody has broken into the Top 10 at a younger age than Krickstein, who also remains the youngest tour-level titlist in history with his 1983 triumph in Tel Aviv at the age of 16 years and two months.

Krickstein is one of 21 teenagers to have cracked the Top 10 in the 50 years since the Pepperstone ATP Rankings began. Michael Chang is the second youngest at 17 years, three months and 19 days. The American won his first and only major at Roland Garros in 1989, breaking the Top 10 in the same year.

Third-youngest Boris Becker also reached that milestone off the back of announcing himself to the world with a stunning major triumph. The German rose inside the Top 10 in 1985 aged 17 years, seven months and 16 days, climbing from No. 20 to No. 8 after becoming the youngest man to win Wimbledon.

Breaking into the Top 10 requires a rare combination of talent, discipline, and belief when taking on the very best. It is a difficult mix of ingredients to develop at a young age, perhaps reflected in the 15-year wait for a teenage Top 10 entrant after Andy Murray hit that milestone in April 2007. Cue the 2022 season, when not one, but two, new kids emerged on the Top 10 block: Carlos Alcaraz and Holger Rune.

Youngest Players To Break Top 10 Of Pepperstone ATP Rankings

Player Age
Aaron Krickstein 17 years, 11 days
Michael Chang 17 years, 3 months, 19 days
Boris Becker 17 years, 7 months, 16 days
Mats Wilander 17 years, 10 months, 21 days
Bjorn Borg 17 years, 11 months, 27 days

All Change In The Top 10

<a href=Frances Tiafoe” />

Frances Tiafoe in action in Toronto in 2023. Photo Credit: Mike Lawrence/ATP Tour

The set of players that makes up the Top 10 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings is almost constantly evolving, although not always at the same speed.

A particularly tumultuous year for the exclusive club was 2006, when eight players, including future World No. 3 David Ferrer and future No. 4s James Blake and Tomas Berdych, reached the Top 10 for the first time. That remains the highest number of new Top 10 entrants in a single season* and it brought the tally of new Top 10 players to 14 in the space of two years after six players, including future No. 1 Nadal, hit the milestone in 2005.

A more recent surge of fresh Top 10 talent came in 2019. Six current ATP Tour stars will have fond memories of that year, including Daniil Medvedev (a future No. 1), Stefanos Tsitsipas (the first Greek Top 10 player) and Matteo Berrettini, as they cracked the Top 10 for the first time.

Those years of mass change in the Top 10 stand in stark contrast to other recent periods in Pepperstone ATP Rankings history. The record eight players who broke the Top 10 in 2006 is the same number that achieved the feat across five seasons from 2012 to 2016. Just one player cracked the Top 10 for the first time in 2013 (Milos Raonic), 2015 (Kevin Anderson) and 2016 (Dominic Thiem).

A milestone only reached by players able to combine high performance with week-in, week-out consistency, just 181 players have reached the Top 10 in 50 years of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. The 181st of them, American Frances Tiafoe, summed up the mental and emotional boost of his newfound status in June 2023.

“[I am] a guy who shouldn’t even really be here doing half the things he’s doing. And now when you say his name, you can say he’s Top 10 in the world,” said Tiafoe. “[That is] something that no one can take from you and I’m going to remember that forever. And hopefully, I can ride that for a long time.”

*Records only available from the year 2000

Years With Most First-Time Top 10 Breakthroughs (Since 2000)

Year Top 10 Breakthroughs
2006: 8 (D. Ferrer, J. Blake, F. Gonzalez, T. Robredo, M. Ancic, R. Stepanek, M. Baghdatis, T. Berdych)
2005: 6 (J. Johansson, R. Nadal, G. Canas, N. Davydenko, M. Puerta, I. Ljubicic)
2019: 6 (S. Tsitsipas, K. Khachanov, F. Fognini, D. Medvedev, R. Bautista Agut, M. Berrettini)

View all 28 No. 1s in the 50-year history of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.
Notable No. 1s In 50 Years Of Pepperstone ATP Rankings (Part 1)
Notable No. 1s In 50 Years Of Pepperstone ATP Rankings (Part 2)
Biggest Rises & Revivals In Pepperstone ATP Rankings History
First Among Equals: World No. 1 Record Breakers & Shakers

Source link

Alcaraz On Djokovic Loss: 'I Left Everything On Court'

  • Posted: Aug 21, 2023

Alcaraz On Djokovic Loss: ‘I Left Everything On Court’

Spaniard reflects on memorable Cincinnat final

After Carlos Alcaraz fell just short of winning the Western & Southern Open final Sunday against Novak Djokovic, he gave an emotional speech to the Cincinnati crowd.

Later on when the Spaniard had a moment to reflect on his defeat, the 20-year-old realised that win or lose, he helped create a special moment in tennis history.

“I feel proud of myself, honestly. I [was] talking and I don’t know why I was crying because I fought until the last ball. I almost beat one of the greatest of all time from our sport,” Alcaraz said in his press conference. “It’s crazy to talk about it right now, but I left the court really, really happy [with] what I did.”

Watch Highlights:

The World No. 1 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings was in control for a good portion of the match. Leading by a set and 4-2, he was two service holds from lifting the trophy. Even after letting slip his service break, he earned a championship point in the second-set tie-break.

But instead of rueing the chances he missed, Alcaraz credited his opponent, who is now a 39-time ATP Masters 1000 champion.

“Today was really, really difficult playing against Novak. He always put almost five, six, seven balls in [the court] every point. So fighting and running from one corner to other one every point is really tough to deal with almost the whole match,” Alcaraz said. “I tried to stay there, to stay good physically, but it was tough.

“As I said, I left everything on court. For me, obviously it’s great that he knows that every time he’s going to play against me, reminds him playing against Rafa or against the best ones because that means we are in a good path.”

You May Also Like:

Djokovic Saves MP, Stuns Alcaraz For Cincinnati Title

Even after Djokovic battled back to force a decider and then pulled ahead in the third set, Alcaraz did not give up. The Spaniard saved 12 of the 13 break points he faced in the final set to keep the match close and eventually force a tie-break.

On many of those pressure points, Alcaraz played without fear, throwing in gutsy serve-and-volley plays and generally taking risks.

“It’s something I feel comfortable playing, serve and volley, sometimes. Of course, in that moment I was seeing that from the baseline, for me it was even tougher to win a point. So I decided to do serve and volley. My coach told me the same from the stands. ‘Go to the net. Go to the net’,” Alcaraz recalled. “I was seeing that it was working, so I decided to do it more often in the third set because, as I said, physically I was on the limit.”

Immediately after the match, Djokovic raved about Alcaraz’s performance and declared the match  “one of the toughest matches I’ve ever played in my life”. Alcaraz was happy to hear those kind words from the champion.

“For me it’s great to hear that things from Novak, [who] has played iconic matches, storied matches. He said some matches against me were [some] of the toughest that he has played, it’s great. That means that my team and myself, we are doing the great work, we are in a good path,” Alcaraz said. “[Because of] matches like this one, we know that we have to still work in the same way that we are doing.”

Source link