BCarlos Alcaraz’s eyes lit up at the thought of a superstar generational duel with Novak Djokovic. To the applause of the audience on the Philippe-Chatrier court, the Spanish youth is delighted with the semi-finals of the French Open, which many tennis fans have been waiting for after the draw. “If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best,” said the 20-year-old world number one with almost childlike glee. “It’s incredible for me to make history, to play in the semi-final against a legend like Novak.”
With a show of his extra class, especially in the first two sets in a 6-2, 6-1, 7-6 (7-5) score against world number five Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece, Alcaraz was in the right mood for Friday’s game. Much more trouble went to Djokovic in his quarterfinal victory over the Russian Karen Chachanov 4:6, 7:6 (7:0), 6:2, 6:4.
The Serbian has also spoken highly of his next opponent and compared him to Rafael Nadal, with whom he currently shares a record of 22 Grand Slam titles. “He brings a lot of intensity to the field. He reminds me of someone from his country who plays with his left hand,” said the 36-year-old. “A lot of people want to see this game. He’s a player to beat.”
So far, the two have only faced each other once in a match. Alcaraz’s three-set success over three and a half hours in the Madrid Masters semi-finals a year ago promises to be a spectacle.
The winner of the US Open has so far tried not to attach too much importance to this single fight. “I will always choose Novak as the favorite, not because I want to relieve myself of pressure. But while he’s there, he’s the favorite,” Alcaraz said. He cited a 45-2 Grand Slam semi-final record to Djokovic and his two Roland Garros titles during Nadal’s time. “He just doesn’t have more because he met the best player in history here.”
Source: Frantfurter Allgemeine
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