Novak Djokovic applauded Carlos Alcaraz during the French Open semi-final as the top seed hit a stunning winner past him during their highly-anticipated match. After taking the first set, the Serb could only laugh and smile at the extraordinary shot.
Djokovic and Alcaraz were facing off in a long-awaited second career meeting. The pair contested the first men’s semi-final at the French Open 13 months after their first meeting at the Madrid Masters.
It was the world No 3 who took the opener 6-3 but the Spaniard started to settle into the match and stepped things up by the time they started set number two. And Alcaraz showed that he had arrived after hitting an incredible shot while serving at 1-1.
The top seed ran from the net back to the baseline to chase down the ball. And with Djokovic standing in the middle of his side of the court, Alcaraz managed to fire a winner past his opponent, having to hit the shot virtually backwards given where he was standing.
The 20-year-old had a big smile on his face as he pointed to the sky to celebrate. And even Djokovic marvelled at the point, clapping Alcaraz before putting his arms up and laughing at his opponent’s brilliance.
“Way too good, even Djokovic is laughing,” John McEnroe said on commentary for Eurosport. It was a touch of class from Djokovic, who had brought his A-game from the very first point.
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A two-time French Open champion, Djokovic broke in the fourth game of the match and managed to hold onto his advantage before closing out the first set 6-3. There were some nerves from Alcaraz, who could be heard shouting towards his player box during the opener.
“There hasn’t been a rally of more than five shots, that’s what I have to change,” the world No 1 said to his support team in Spanish. Alcaraz had break points at 2-4 and 3-5 down in the first set but couldn’t get back on serve.
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