Wednesday, December 6, 2023

Wimbledon 2023: Carlos Alcaraz defeats Novak Djokovic in five-set thriller to capture second Grand Slam title

World No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz captured his second Grand Slam title after beating Novak Djokovic 1-6, 7-6 (8-6), 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 in the 2023 Wimbledon men’s final. This was only the third meeting between the two on the ATP Tour, and it was as exciting as promised.

While Djokovic still holds the all-time record with 23 Grand Slam titles, winning this battle is yet another solid accomplishment for Alcaraz’s already impressive resume. His first major title came last year at the 2022 US Open, when he became the youngest world No. 1 in the history of the ATP rankings at 19.

This year’s Wimbledon was only the fourth grass event for Alcaraz, and the 20-year-old prevailed in a final that lasted four hours and 42 minutes. 

“It’s dream come true for me,” Alcaraz said after the match. “As I said before, of course it’s great to win, but even if I would’ve lost, I would be really proud of myself in this run, making history in this beautiful tournament, playing a final against a legend in this sport.”

Alcaraz broke a 34-match winning streak at Wimbledon for Djokovic, who had not lost at the All England Club since 2017.

This showdown between the world No. 1 and world No. 2 was a rematch from the 2023 French Open semifinal when Djokovic came out victorious in four sets, although Alcaraz’s game had been affected by cramps at Roland Garros. Alcaraz did not have the same struggle during the Wimbledon final, but he did have some trouble getting on the board early in the match and lost the first set, 1-6.

“After the first set I thought, ‘Carlos, increase the level. Everyone could be disappointed.'” Alcaraz said, drawing laughs from the crowd. “I have to congratulate Novak, it’s amazing to play against him. What can I say about him? He is unbelievable. You inspire me a lot.”

Alcaraz found his rhythm to make the second set more competitive. That set took one hour and 25 minutes after going into a tiebreak — which had been dangerous territory for Djokovic’s opponents. The 36-year-old entered this one with a record 15 consecutive tiebreak wins, but Alcaraz snapped that streak.

Alcaraz carried that momentum into the third set, which turned into its own one-hour battle. While he led 3-1, it looked like he would increase his lead after the sixth break point. However, Djokovic challenged the call and the review showed Alcaraz’s ball had been out. Djokovic soon got the advantage, but he wasn’t able to put it away. After a game that lasted 26 minutes 56 seconds — with 32 points and 13 deuces — Alcaraz found a 4-1 lead and eventually took the third set, 6-1.

Djokovic briefly left the court ahead of the fourth set. While Alcaraz remained focused, the veteran’s experience led to a fifth set. Alcaraz needed to proceed carefully, as Djokovic entered it with a 10-1 record in five-set matches at Wimbledon. 

Nevertheless, Alcaraz was hungry for his first Wimbledon trophy and will remain No. 1 in the world after this victory.

As for Djokovic, he congratulated Alcaraz and said he was impressed to see how fast the Spaniard has adapted to playing on grass.

“As for me, obviously you know I never like to lose matches like this, but I guess when all the emotions are settled I have to still be very grateful because I won many, many tight and close matches in the past year,” Djokovic said. ” … Maybe I should’ve lost a couple of finals that I won, so I think this is even-steven.”

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