ATP roundup: Novak Djokovic outlasts Carlos Alcaraz in classic final
Posted on: 21 Aug, 2023 at 04:27 AM
Credit: Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK
Novak Djokovic outlasted Carlos Alcaraz in three hard-fought sets that lasted just under four hours Sunday in the Western & Southern Open final in Mason, Ohio, just outside Cincinnati.
The Serbian Djokovic, seeded second in the tourney and ranked No. 2 in the world, defeated the top-seeded and No. 1-ranked Spaniard 5-7, 7-6 (7), 7-6 (4) and did so in dramatic fashion.
After dropping the first set, Djokovic faced match point at 5-6 with Alcaraz serving in the second-set tiebreaker before surviving.
Asked to describe the match afterward on the court, Djokovic described it as "crazy."
"Honestly, I don't know what else I can say," he said. "Tough to describe. Definitely one of the toughest matches I've ever played in my life, regardless what tournament, what category, what level, what player. It's unbelievable."
Djokovic led the third set 5-3 with Alcaraz on serve, but the top seed twice escaped match point to pull within 5-4, and then broke Djokovic's serve to tie the set. In that set's tiebreaker, Djokovic won on Alcaraz's serve to take a 5-4 lead and won the next two points as well to clinch the match.
Amid the trophy ceremony, Alcaraz called the tight match a learning experience.
"It's amazing playing against you, sharing the court with you, learning from you," he said. "This match was really close, but I learned a lot from a champion like you. So congratulations to you and your team."
The players are tied 2-2 in career matchups, with three of those in the last few months.
"This rivalry just gets better," Djokovic said. "It gets better and better. Amazing player. Tons of respect for him. For such a young player to show so much poise in important moments is impressive."
Juan Manuel Cerundolo of Argentina needed three sets to defeat Roman Safiullin of Russia 7-6 (5), 3-6, 6-3 in more than 2 1/2 hours in the round of 64 in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Other winners were Zhizhen Zhang of China, American wild-card Alex Michelsen, Daniel Elahi Galan of Colombia, Marc-Andrea Huesler of Switzerland and Benjamin Bonzi of France.
In the final match of the night, the United States' Brandon Nakashima outlasted Australian Jason Kubler for a 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (3) victory.
--Field Level Media