The meeting of the currently best tennis players in the world in the US state of Ohio was also a generational duel between 36-year-old Djokovic and 20-year-old Alcaraz. In the “head to head” the Serb now equalized against the Spaniard to 2:2. The most recent duel in July in the Wimbledon final was won by Alcaraz, who was 16 years his junior, 1: 6 7: 6 (8/6) 6: 1 3: 6 6: 4. Djokovic won the first two Grand Slam tournaments of the year in Melbourne and Paris.
In the first set, it took until the sixth game before Djokovic earned the first breakball of the game – and that too with a 40-0 lead. The Serb only needed one of the three chances and took the service from Alcaraz to lead 4-2 to zero. The Spaniard countered with the immediate rebreak, equalized to make it 4: 4 and earned more breakballs towards the end of the round, the third of which he was able to use to lead 6: 5. In his service game that followed, Alcaraz used his first set ball after an hour.
Djokovic saves himself in the third set
In the early stages of the second round, Alcaraz Djokovic took the serve to take a 2-1 lead. Before the Spaniard’s service continued, the “Djoker” had to undergo treatment by his physiotherapist. The Serb also had the chance of a rebreak to make it 2-2, but couldn’t take advantage of it. Djokovic managed to equalize with the break to 4: 4. The decision finally came in the tie-break. Djokovic first fended off a match point and finally saved himself with his second set point after 2:10 hours in the third round.
APA/AFP/Getty Images/Matthew Stockman Alcaraz missed a match point against Djokovic in the second set
Before the decisive sentence, Alcaraz was also treated by his physiotherapist. The third round was balanced like the first two sets, but initially with slight advantages for Djokovic, who missed two break chances to lead 3: 2. In the seventh game of the set, the Serb finally broke through Alcaraz’s service. The 36-year-old needed five break chances to make it 4: 3.
Alcaraz fends off four match points
When the score was 5: 3, Djokovic missed two match balls as a setback, but had the chance to decide the game with his own service. But Alcaraz didn’t give up, created his first break chances in the third set and, after defending against two more match balls from Djokovic, converted the fourth to 5: 5. The match was completely open again.
The eleventh game was also tough: Alcaraz had to fend off four more breakballs to bring his service game to a 6:5 lead. Djokovic had fewer problems with his service and made it 6: 6. The Serbs managed the decisive mini-break in the tie-break to make it 5:4. He then used his fifth match point in the game to win the fourth tournament in 2023 on his own serve. A week before the US Open in New York, Djokovic also underlined his ambitions of winning the last Grand Slam tournament of the year.
Gauff wins first WTA 1000 tournament title
Before the men’s final, the American Gauff won a WTA tournament in category 1000 for the first time. The 19-year-old defeated the Czech Karolina Muchova 6:3 6:4 in the final in Cincinnati. Gauff celebrated her fifth WTA tournament success just under a week before the US Open in Flushing Meadows.
“That’s incredible. Especially after everything I went through in Europe in the summer,” said Gauff when the trophy was handed over to her first round in Wimbledon. In August, the title at the WTA 500 tournament in Washington and the quarter-finals at the WTA 1000 tournament in Montreal followed.
APA/AFP/Getty Images/Matthew Stockman Winning the tournament in Cincinnati is Gauff’s greatest success to date
Her triumphal march culminated in Cincinnati, where she defeated the Polish world number one and US Open winner Iga Swiatek in the semifinals for the first time. “I’m just happy to be here at this moment. I’ve spent many nights alone crying and trying to figure it out,” Gauff said.
ATP 1000 tournament in Cincinnati
(US, $7,665,215, hard)
Finale: Novak Djokovic (SRB/2) Carlos Alcaraz (ESP/1) 5:7 7:6 (9/7) 7:6 (7/4) Semifinale: Carlos Alcaraz (ESP/1) Hubert Hurkacz (POL) 2 :6 7:6 (7/4) 6:3 Novak Djokovic (SRB/2) Alexander Zverev (GER/16) 7:6 (7/5) 7:5 Viertelfinal-Tableau: Carlos Alcaraz (ESP/1) Max Purcell (AUS) 4:6 6:3 6:4 Hubert Hurkacz (POL) Alexei Popyrin (AUS) 6:1 7:6 (10/8) Alexander Zverev (GER/16) Adrian Mannarino (FRA) 6:2 6 :3 Novak Djokovic (SRB/2) Taylor Fritz (USA/9) 6:0 6:4
WTA 1000 tournament in Cincinnati
(US, $2,788,468, hard)
Finale: Coco Gauff (USA/7) Karolina Muchova (CZE) 6:3 6:4 Semifinale: Coco Gauff (USA/7) Iga Swiatek (POL/1) 7:6 (7/2) 3:6 6:4 Karolina Muchova (CZE) Arina Sabalenka (BLR/2) 6:7 (4/7) 6:3 6:2 Viertelfinal-Tableau: Iga Swiatek (POL/1) Marketa Vondrousova (CZE/10) 7:6 (7/ 3) 6:1 Coco Gauff (USA/7) Jasmine Paolini (ITA) 6:3 6:2 Karolina Muchova (CZE) Marie Bouzkova (CZE) 3:0 ret. Arina Sabalenka (BLR/2) Ons Jabeur (TUN/5) 7:5 6:3