Djokovic falls to the ground, exhausted and exhausted, after beating Carlitos Alcaraz in another memorable match who cries inconsolably on his bench, releasing all the tension of these two weeks full of obstacles that he has been overcoming until he has played with a being of a thousand lives that a match ball saves him and stops him on his way to victory in Cincinnati. “It has been one of the toughest matches of my life,” confesses the Serbian after winning his 39th Masters 1000, the third in Cincinnati, after another match for history (5-7, 7-6(7), 7 -6(4) in three hours and 50 minutes) where the last exponent of the old generation, who bowed his knee in the tennis cathedral, resists the change of era.
This time the glory fell to the Serbian in a final in Cincinnati that had nothing to envy to that of Wimbledon. Absolutely nothing. The two best tennis players in the world met again, and with a wide difference from the rest. They could not fight for number one, already secured by the Spaniard for the US Open, but a final is a final and neither of them left anything. Alcaraz found his tennis in the first set and inflicted such a high rhythm that it left the Serb completely knocked out, who suffered a drop in tension. The one from Belgrade reappeared when the Spaniard was close to the title to take the second set and in the final round both got involved in a real punching match where the most veteran emerged victorious.
The start was positive for the man from El Palmar who connected again with his right, he felt it again and with it he moved the Serb who for the first time in the tournament felt the pressure on him. But there is no better tennis player who knows how to deal with pressure than ‘Nole’ who accepted the challenge, raised his level and in the sixth game hit his first blow, breaking the Murcian’s serve to target. The one from El Palmar did not even flinch, as he did not go crazy as in his first American summer meetings. More focused and serene than during the whole week, he responded instantly and returned the break: 4-4 in 34 minutes of pure tennis.
Alcaraz was playing his best match since the Wimbledon final. Number two suffered a downturn due to the weather and the pace imposed by the man from El Palmar who was with the turbo on; running up and down, spreading his legs to reach the balls and thus, with an intensity worthy of a number one, he broke again and with his service he took the first set 7-5 in an hour of meeting . An unstoppable Alcaraz took the lead against a Serb who withdrew to the locker room to catch his breath after a first round in which he started solid and ended exhausted.
“We are a rock!” Ferrero reminded him at the beginning of the set that he did not want even the slightest mistake. “Novak, Novak!” Shouted the center court of Cincinnati who wanted more tennis and was looking for the recovery of a Serb who did not react. In fact, he got worse and, weak and dizzy, made three double faults in a row and lost serve. The Serbian who had to call the doctors was not feeling well. The Cincinnati heat and Carlitos’ intensity knocked him out and he was disoriented on the bench. They took his blood pressure, gave him a pill and he returned to the ring.
From then on the Serbian revived, recovered the lost energy and warned with two break balls that Alcaraz knew how to defend. But Djokovic, which is not the first time he has done one of his tricks, has seven lives, broke the rhythm by shortening the points and recovered the break. Carlitos laughed, who, in the blink of an eye, saw how he went from caressing the Cincinnati trophy, with Novak’s indisposition, to having to serve to avoid losing the second set. He closed his fist and clenched his teeth, the number one who was taken by surprise by the resurrection of the Serb but he accepted it as part of the game.
They were going to the tie break where the Spaniard could finish off and he knew it perfectly. He came back from 3-1 down and had a championship point. The Murcian was one ball away from confirming that he is in charge of the circuit. Until the seniority of the winner of 23 Grand Slams prevailed on the track and, once again, when the Serbian was on the stretcher he showed his greatness again and took the second set. And as happened in his first duel in Madrid and his last in London; the match was going to the last set.
The final calmed down for the first time and the games followed one another. There were no more birds or regrets, just two competitive machines. The match was hanging by a thread and any slightest mistake condemned them to defeat. And the first to err was Alcaraz, in the seventh game, who after saving four break balls fell in the fifth and for the first time in the match was away from the title. The 56 Masters 1000 finals played by the Serbian began to make a dent. Djokovic was in his best moment of the match and was placed 5-3. Carlitos had nothing left but to launch one last offensive. “If he leaves us, he leaves us. But you have to go for it ”, asked Ferrero and the Murcian with the tank increasingly empty towards the impossible to defend two match points with his serve.
The Balkan served to win the tournament and Carlitos only had pride and honor left after seeing how the game slipped away. He emptied himself and fought; he had two break options but Djokovic neutralized and enjoyed his third match point, which he wasted again with a double fault. Nobody dared to predict what was going to happen because Alcaraz refused to fall and raised the fourth ball of the championship. Ferrero raised his hands to his head because the two figures were making another monument to tennis and in one of those outbursts, Alcaraz finally broke; another game began and the stands went into delirium.
Carlos Alcaraz is emotional after losing in the Cincinnati final against Novak DjokovicKatie Stratman (USA TODAY Sports via Reuters Con)
There could be no better outcome of the final than another tie break, which was the best summary of what the match was like: infinite exchanges, alternations and more, and more, doses of tennis and drama. Experience is always a degree and finally Alcaraz succumbed to the immortal Djokovic.
The Serb completed his revenge at Wimbledon in one of the most exhausting matches he has had to face in his career against a rival who demanded of him like few others: “This boy just keeps getting better and better,” said the Balkan after a final interminable and where he also reminded another player: “I have lived this experience before, and it was against another Spaniard”.
You can follow EL PAÍS Deportes on Facebook and Twitteror sign up here to receive our weekly newsletter.
#Djokovic #resurrects #defeats #tireless #Alcaraz #epic #final