Alcaraz Sets Djokovic Blockbuster French Open SF; Ruud v Rune Rematch
The dream semifinal is set between Novak Djokovic and Carlos Alcaraz. For just the second time, the two will meet this Friday at the French Open.
Earlier today, Djokovic dropped the opener and then clawed out the second before pulling away from Karen Khachanov 4-6, 7-6(0), 6-2, 6-4.
Khachanov was nearly untouchable on serve in the first as Djokovic looked low on energy dropping his first set of the event. But Serb began find the range with his serve in the second and despite once again failing to break the Russian, he dominated in the break blanking the big man.
From there, it was all Djokovic who improved to 9-1 against Khachanov to reach his 12th French semifinal and 45th final four at a Slam.
“I think he was the better player for most of the [first] two sets,” said Djokovic on court. “I was struggling to find my rhythm. I made a lot of unforced errors and came into the match quite slow, quite sluggish. But I played the perfect [second-set] tie-break, really, and from that moment I played a couple of levels higher than I did at the beginning.
“A little bit of a scare towards the end of the fourth set, but I managed to win eight points in a row to finish it off. It’s a big fight. It’s something that you expect in the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam. You’re not going to have your victories handed over to you. You’ve got to earn them, so I’m just glad to overcome the big challenge of today.”
Djokovic will take a 19-match win streak in Slams in a super showdown against a hot-handed Alcaraz.
The 20-year-old Spaniard hammered Stefanos Tsitsipas then held on for a 6-2, 6-1, 7-6(7-5) win.
“I believe in myself all the time. I would say that’s the most important thing — not only for me, I would say for everyone, believing in yourself,” Alcaraz said. “I always think that I’m going to play these kind of matches in this level. I would say that’s the key of everything… with a joy. That’s the key.”
Alcaraz, playing his second straight French semifinal, jumped all over the Greek 6-2, 6-1, 5-2 before Tsitsipas got up and mounted a challenge. But it was too little, too late.
“I lost my focus a little bit at the end of the third set,” Alcaraz said. “I had a couple of match points on the return, serving for the match. He started to play, I would say, better. But of course I lost my focus a little bit.
“I was in trouble. I’m really happy to overcome that problem, still playing a great level, believing in myself, believing that I was going to win the third set. But of course it was really tough at the end of the match.”
Alcaraz reaches his first French semifinal he’ll take a 12-match Slam win streak and a 1-0 mark against Djokovic into Friday.
“This match is one everyone wanted to watch. I would say it’s going to be a really good match to play and to watch as well,” Alcaraz said looking ahead. “I really wanted to play this match as well. I always say that if you want to be the best you have to beat the best. Novak Djokovic right now is one of the best players in the world, so it’s going to be a really tough challenge for me. But I’m really looking forward to that match, playing such a great level.”
Tomorrow, No. 4 Casper Ruud collides with No. 6 Holger Rune in the quarters for a second straight year, Ruud downed the Dane last year but Rune returned the favor last month in Rome. Ruud leads Rune 4-1.
And No. 22 Alexander Zverev clashes with Tomas Martin Etcheverry in a first-time tour-level collision. Etcheverry has never reached this stage at a Slam while Zverev seeks to return to the last four in Paris for a third straight year.
WEDNESDAY FRENCH OPEN SCHEDULE
Court Philippe-CHATRIER – Début à 11h00
Beatriz HADDAD MAIA (BRA) contre Ons JABEUR (TUN)
Pas avant 12h30
Iga SWIATEK (POL) contre Coco GAUFF (USA)
Pas avant 15h00
Alexander ZVEREV (GER) contre Tomas Martin ETCHEVERRY (ARG)
Pas avant 20h15
4 SM Q Holger RUNE (DEN) contre Casper RUUD (NOR)
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