Tennis: Djokovic Wins Cincinnati Open After Beating Alcaraz

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Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic overcame a match point to beat world number one Carlos Alcaraz 5-7 7-6(7) 7-6(4) and win the Cincinnati Open after a thrilling contest.

The tournament was Djokovic’s first on US soil in two years after he was barred from entering the country because he is not vaccinated against COVID-19.

Djokovic was hobbled by the intense humidity in the tail end of the first set, barely moving when Alcaraz hit a backhand winner to grab the opener.

Men’s tennis world number one Carlos Alcaraz in action against Novak Djokovic.

Alcaraz raced out to a 4-2 second-set lead and it appeared he might cruise to the finish line as his 36-year-old opponent looked cooked in the Ohio sun. But Alcaraz would produce a poor service game while leading 4-3 that included four unforced errors to give life to the world number two.

In the second-set tiebreak Djokovic saved a championship point and went on to force a deciding set after winning a 25-shot rally.

Novak Djokovic in action.

During the break before the third set, a frustrated Alcaraz pounded his right hand against the plastic drinks container next to his chair, requiring a medical time out to tape his finger.

In the decider, Djokovic broke for a 5-3 lead but would then squander two match points in the next game. The drama would continue when Djokovic missed an overhead for 5-5 and the players would ultimately arrive at another tiebreak, which Djokovic won on his fifth match point of the contest.

Djokovic collapsed on his back and ripped his shirt open after triumphing in the nearly four-hour contest to get revenge for his loss to the young Spaniard in last month’s Wimbledon final.

“So much to say and so little energy,” Djokovic said while collecting his third Cincinnati Open title.

“It has been a roller coaster and definitely one of the toughest and most exciting matches that I’ve ever been a part of in any tournament. It did feel like a Grand Slam final, even more than that, to be honest.”

The win delivered Djokovic his 95th career title and 39th Masters 1000 crown. He will look to add a 24th Grand Slam trophy to his collection at the upcoming US Open, which runs from August 28th – 10th September, 2023.

“Every one of our matches goes the distance,” Djokovic said to Alcaraz. “Hopefully we can play in some weeks’ time in New York. That would be nice for the crowd, I don’t know about me.”

Carlos Alcaraz (L) with Novak Djokovic (R).
Source Reuters Cincinnati Open
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