Djokovic Rallies Past Alcaraz In Cincinnati Masters Epic Final

by Staff | August 20th, 2023, 11:18 pm

Novak Djokovic rallied from a set and a break down to deny Carlos Alcaraz in an epic Cincinnati Masters final 5-7, 7-6(7), 7-6(4).

Playing in his first U.S. event in nearly two years, and playing a man who just beat him in a Wimbledon thriller, and playing in the heat after all night matches this week, the Serb looked down and out after about 90 minutes.

On the hottest day of the tournament with temperatures will into the 90s, it was Djokovic who drew first blood breaking Alcaraz for 4-2 in the first. But the Spaniard would come right back and then break Djokovic again at 5-all and serve it out.

With the heat bearing down on him, Djokovic’s pre-set visit to the locker didn’t help. The speedy, younger, more powerful Alcaraz showed no mercy breaking Djokovic for 2-1. Alcaraz would save a break point in that next game, and then build his lead to 4-2 when things turned.

Closing in on the finish line, Alcaraz perhaps got ahead of himself. He played a sloppy game and Djokovic broke back. With shade now covering most of the court, the Serb got a reprieve from the sun and gained some life.

He began to find his mark and get Alcaraz on the move more grabbed the second in a tight breaker saving a match point in the process.

The third set saw Djokovic continue to look the part of the stronger player. He had chances to break at 2-all and then finally and 3-all did so on his seventh try of the set.

After yesterday’s wobble at the end against Zverev, Djokovic would go up 5-3. Alcaraz would hold and then at 5-4 the fun really began.

Djokovic would hold two match points but missed first serve after missed first set cost him. Alcaraz would finally break on his 4th try to level in the longest game of the match at 14 points. The crowd was going bananas.

Alcaraz was now under the gun at 5-all. In another epic game saw Djokovic miss four break chances.

Djokovic would now hold and force the breaker. Alcaraz was starting to struggle physically with hand and Djokovic pounced, getting a quick lead and taking the last three points for one of his best wins, most memorable wins in a while.

The 3 hours, 49 minute final was the longest best-of-3 final since 1990.

“Crazy. Honestly, I don’t know what else I can say. Tough to describe. Definitely one of the toughest matches I’ve ever played in my life, regardless what tournament, what category, what level, what player. It’s unbelievable,” Djokovic said on court. “From the beginning ’til the end we’ve both been through so much, so many ups and downs, highs and lows, incredible points, poor games, heat strokes, coming back.

“Just overall, one of the toughest and most exciting matches I was ever part of and these are the kinds of moments and matches that I continue to work for day in day out. I was never in doubt that I can deliver the ‘A’ game when it mattered the most and just thrilled.”

Djokovic and Alcaraz and now tied 2-2 with all four matches going the distance.

“You just have to put your hats down to a guy like that, who plays so maturely, handles the pressure so well for a 20-year-old,” Djokovic said. “We cannot forget how young he is. That’s something that is so impressive about him. The feeling that I have on the court reminds me a little bit when I was facing Nadal when we were at our prime of our careers. Each point is a hustle. Each point is a battle.

“Amazing to be able to experience that with him on the court. It just keeps getting better for the fans. For us, I don’t know if we are enjoying it so much. It’s definitely a challenge that we both need to embrace and accept because that’s what’s required from both of us in order to win big titles.”

Alcaraz was seeking a fifth Masters title. This was his first loss in a Masters final, and he had match point.

”It’s amazing playing against you, sharing the court with you, learning from you,” Alcaraz said on court. “This match was really close, but I learned a lot from a champion like you. So congratulations to you and your team.”

Djokovic wins his 95th career title, 39th at the Masters level and 3rd in Cincinnati.

“Hopefully we can play in some weeks’ time in New York,” Djokovic said. “That would be nice for the crowd, I don’t know about me.”

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8 Comments for Djokovic Rallies Past Alcaraz In Cincinnati Masters Epic Final

Giles Says:

The doper strikes again! Pfffffft

chrisford1 Says:

Longest 3-set Final in 30 years! The crowd got the two best in the game, going at it hammer and tongs.

Now 39 MAster’s titles, and being the only one with 40 or more seems probable.. With 95 titles big and small , he’s moving past Lendl, behind only Federer and Connors in total titles. But Novak is pulling away in Big Titles (Slam+OLympics+ATP Championships+Masters) with 68 compared to Nadal’s 59 and Federers 54.

Djokovic now needs only a Monte Carlo win to give him 3 Masters career sweeps.

Best of all, the sport gets two great players, of different generations, and unlike Federer-Sampras, we will never have to speculate how it would have gone had Sampras had gas in his tank or if Federer had only come together as a total player 2-3 years earlier and faced Pete in his best form. With Alcaraz and Djokovic, fans see perhaps the Greatest, and his worthy heir.

Temple Says:

Nice to see Giles been tortured for 20 years now

Wog Boy Says:



zed Says:

Giles’s Mum has been living in torture for a lot longer. Poor woman.

Giles Says:

Funny how the rats emerge when their Doper scores a win.

zed Says:

What? When did Rafa score a win? I thought he was injured?

Truth Says:

Why would he have needed to play his best when the boy was exhausted, got broken and taken to the woodshed in the tiebreak? The Spaniard seal bashed his finger. Djoke was red faced and barely moved. Alca was down 2-4 in the first set and got lucky. You call him the GOAT?

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